Israeli warplanes bombed Palestinian security bases in the West Bank early on Friday, killing at least one person, in retaliation for a deadly Palestinian shooting attack in a banquet hall in northern Israel.
Witnesses in the West Bank city of Tulkarem said F-16 aircraft fired missiles at the security compound. An Israeli army spokesman stated planes had carried out the attack but he did not specify the type. “In response to recent terrorist attacks and the one last night in (the Israeli city) of Hadera, carried out by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military attacked the Palestinian security headquarters in Tulkarm,'' the spokesman said.
According to Palestinian sources, one policeman was killed and at least 18 people - 12 policemen and six civilians - were injured. The air strikes, after which there was a power outage in the city and cellular phone service stopped seriously damaged the security compound.
In Ramallah, occupation troops returned to the positions in Palestinian-controlled areas which they had held until a few weeks ago. The Israeli army left the home of Tawfik Tirawi, PA Intelligence Chief in the West Bank, after taking control of it earlier Friday morning.
Attack in Hadera
Six Israelis were killed and 33 wounded in an attack on a banquet hall in the Israeli city of Hadera, close to the West Bank. A Palestinian attacker entered the “David’s Palace” banquet hall at about 11 PM Thursday (local time), and opened fire at the guests present.
Over one hundred and eighty Israeli guests were in the banquet hall to celebrate a young girl's birthday when the lone gunman entered and started firing. An eyewitness said the assailant, dressed in Khaki uniform, walked down the aisle firing at guests who were dancing or seated at tables in the hall.
Israeli sources reported that the attacker apparently tried and failed to set off explosives strapped around his body, and was then shot and killed by two Israeli policemen who arrived at the scene. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports explosive devices were found near the body of the attacker.
Israel's government was blaming the attack on the Palestinian Authority and saying its leader Yasser Arafat had "chosen the path of terrorism". Israel vowed to “teach the Palestinian Authority a lesson they will not forget'' after the Hadera attack.
Al-Aqsa Brigades Claim Responsibility
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a military wing of Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, has claimed responsibility for Hadera attack. The attacker was named as 27 year old Abed al Salam Sadeq Hassouna, from a village near the Palestinian city of Nablus. It was claimed he had carried out the attack to avenge the death of Raed al Karmi, a prominent Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades activist in the city of Tulkarem.
Raed al Karmi was killed in an explosion earlier this week that had all the signs of an Israeli assassination. Following his death, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades announced that they would no longer honor the ceasefire declared last month by Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. The Palestinian Authority condemned the attack in Hadera. Early Friday, Yasser Arafat presided over a Palestinian security meeting to discuss the ramifications of the latest attack in Hadera. (Albawaba.com)
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