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Palestinian Security Minister Calls For End of Suicide Bombings - 2002-08-30

The Palestinian minister in charge of security has called for an end to suicide bombings against Israel, calling them "murders for no reason."

Palestinian Interior Minister Abdel Razak Yehiyeh says he is involved in an effort to convince Palestinian groups to halt their campaign of suicide bombings against Israel.

He says that he has delivered this message in talks with the leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other groups.

Mr. Yehiyeh, who is in overall charge of Palestinian security, made his comments to the Israeli daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, in an interview published Friday.

He told the newspaper that the attacks are, "contrary to Palestinian tradition, against international law and harm the Palestinian people."

Recent opinion polls indicate that a majority of Palestinians support suicide bombings as a response to Israeli military strikes against them.

Mr. Yehiyeh accused those who recruit Palestinians for such missions of exploitation.

There has been a three-week lull in suicide bombings inside Israel. But the country's police chief, Shlomo Aharonishki, says that is the result of Israel's anti-terror operations, not a change in Palestinian tactics.

Since the wave of suicide bombings began in June, Israeli troops have been based in and around most Palestinian self-rule areas of the West Bank, imposing restrictions and travel bans that are crippling the territory's economy.

One of the areas affected is Jenin, where three Israel soldiers were wounded during a raid into a refugee camp on Friday.

Israel says the soldiers were searching for Palestinian militants.