The Bush administration has condemned Wednesday's suicide bombing in northern Israel - the first of its kind in six weeks and is again urging Palestinian authorities to move against what is termed the terrorist infrastructure.
The suicide blast drew condemnation from both the State Department and the White House, which called the attack a "step backward" but said President Bush intends to keep working "diligently" for a regional peace accord that includes Palestinian statehood.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said effective action by Palestinian authorities against terror cells is necessary if conditions in the West Bank and Gaza are to be improved. "We think the Palestinians need to take immediate steps to prevent actions such as these, to disrupt the infrastructure that supports violence and terror," he said. "And those efforts are necessary to improve the situation for Palestinians overall, particularly the humanitarian situation."
Mr. Boucher also condemned as "particularly awful" the bombing Tuesday at Palestinian school in the West Bank that left several children injured. He noted with satisfaction that Israeli and Palestinian officials were jointly investigating the incident, which Palestinians have blamed on Jewish settlers.