Hamas, Islamic Jihad Claim Responsibility for Jerusalem Bombing

Published August 9th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in a Jerusalem pizzeria on Thursday that killed 18, including the suicide bomber, and injured over 100, leaving ten in critical condition.  

A tire blowout in a nearby bus station was later interpreted as a second explosion by security forces.  

Hamas claimed responsibility in a statement, cited by AFP, for the bomb blast in Jerusalem. 

It said its suicide bomber Izzedine Shuhin al-Masri was the man killed, along with 17 others, when he detonated a powerful nail-bomb in a crowded pizzeria at lunchtime.  

The group said that Islamic Jihad's "suicide bomber" was still alive. 

AFP said earlier that an Islamic Jihad unit called the Salaheddine Al Ayyoubi Brigades had initially claimed responsibility for the pizzeria bombing, in a statement faxed to its Amman office.  

But the group later emailed a correction to Albawaba.com, saying the bombing was carried out by the military wing of Islamic Jihad, the Jerusalem Brigades, and that there was no such unit as the Salaheddine Al Ayyoubi Brigades.  

In a later fax, the Islamic Jihad identified the resistance fighter as Hussein Omar Abu Amsha, 23, from Jenin in the West Bank.  

Radio Israel said the explosion was in a restaurant belonging to the Italian fast food restaurant chain Sbarro, in the center of west Jerusalem.  

The deputy police commander in Jerusalem district, Ilan Franco, told the press that according to the initial findings on the ground it seems the attack was the work of a suicide bomber.  


Israel Responds by Shelling Palestinian Security Posts, PA Blames Sharon and International Parties Condemn Attack  


Israel responded swiftly by shelling Palestinian posts in the West Bank, injuring three, according to reports.  

"Israel must respond" to the attack, Israeli Communications Minister Reuven Rivlin had said on public television, according to AFP.  

Meanwhile, Palestinian information minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's policies should be considered the cause of the deadly Palestinian suicide bomb blast.  

"We hold Sharon responsible for what happened in Jerusalem. It is he who provoked (the Palestinians) and it is he who so wished," the minister told press in an initial reaction from the Palestinian Authority.  

The White House said in reaction to the deadly attack that President George W. Bush "strongly deplores this act of terror" and believes it "once again shows the need to break the cycle of violence" in the region.  

For his part, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan condemned the bombing, saying it was a violation of international law.  

"The secretary general condemns today's terror attack by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem. He deplores all acts of terror and is deeply disturbed by the terrible loss of life," his spokesman said in a statement.  

"He emphasizes that attacks against civilians violate international and human rights law," the statement added.  

"The secretary general is alarmed that escalating violence continues to spread death and misery among both Israelis and Palestinians. He urges all concerned to exercise restraint," it went on, according to the agency.  

And Human rights group Amnesty International also condemned the bomb attack.  

In a statement, Amnesty called on all armed groups in the region to stop targeting civilians immediately.  

"Attacks deliberately targeting civilians can never be justified," said the organization, repeating its call for international human rights observers to be sent to Israel's occupied territories.  

Since the September 2000 eruption of the latest Palestinian uprising against 34 years of Israeli military occupation, AFP estimates that Palestinians have killed 128 Israelis with weapons ranging from stones and knives to machineguns and car bombs.  

The Thursday attack raises this figure to at least 134. Israeli military sources have reported well over 600 injuries to Israelis of Jewish descent.  

In the same time period, according to AFP, Israeli soldiers and armed Jewish settlers have killed 13 Arab Israelis and 540 Palestinians with weapons ranging from machineguns and tanks to US-made Apache helicopter gunships and F-16s.  

According to an Amnesty International report issued early this year, nearly 100 of the Palestinians killed were children. In addition, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society has reported over 14,000 Palestinians wounded.  

Jewish author Noam Chomsky, who according to a New York Times Book Review article is "arguably the most important intellectual alive," has been quoted as saying: "State terrorism is an extreme form of terrorism, generally much worse than individual terrorism because it has the resources of a state behind it."  


Arafat Calls off Meeting with Opposition Groups  


Radio Israel reported that Palestinian President Yasser Arafat has cancelled a meeting to discuss plans for a national unity government scheduled for Thursday evening - Albawaba.com  




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