Israel's hardline right-wing opposition leader Ariel Sharon called Tuesday for the "elimination" of the head of Palestinian security services in the Gaza strip, Colonel Mohammad Dahlan.
"We must eliminate all those who lift their hand against Jewish children, who prevent the Israeli population from living normally," he said on Israeli radio when asked about whether Israeli should strike out against Dahlan.
Sharon however refused to state whether he also supported attacks aimed at Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
"I prefer not to get into details, the main point is we must eliminate terrorism and those who go after Israelis," said the Likud party chairman.
Israeli military and internal security officials accused Arafat's Palestinian Authority -- singling out Dahlan -- for responsibility in the bombing Monday of a schoolbus carrying Israeli children in the Gaza strip. The attack left two Jewish settlers dead and nine people wounded, including five children.
The Israeli army responded by launching major raids on the Gaza strip.
Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinians in the Gaza Strip overnight, an army spokesman said Tuesday. Their deaths brought the toll from over seven weeks of clashes to 253, most of them Palestinians.
Sharon on Tuesday hailed these operations.
"For the first time the government has decided to act seriously against terrorism, which it should have done a long time ago," he said.
Palestinians blame Sharon for sparking the violence that has racked Palestinian territories with a provocative visit September 28 to the Jerusalem mosque compound or Temple Mount, a site that is sacred to both Muslims and Jews.
A former Israeli defense minister, Sharon is reviled around the Arab world for his role in the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, during which more than 1,000 of Palestinian refugees were massacred by pro-Israeli militias -- JERUSALEM (AFP)
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