Monday’s suicide bombing in northern Israel, which left 16 people dead, including the two bombers, and 50 others injured, threatens peace efforts in the region. U.S. Envoy to the middle east, William Burns -- in Lebanon Tuesday -- as part of U.S. efforts to revive the peace process. Mr. Burns called the attack “reprehensible.”
WILLIAM BURNS, U.S. ENVOY TO THE MIDDLE EAST
“It does severe damage to Palestinian aspirations and interests (TRANSLATION IN ARABIC FOLLOWS), it cannot be tolerated by anyone who genuinely is interested in peace (ARABIC TRANSLATION FOLLOWS)”
Israel, normally quick to retalliate such attacks, has not done so, reportedly because of pressure from the U.S. to refrain from escalating the conflict. But Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, was angered by this attack, the first inside Israel since a failed bombing on October 10.
ARIEL SHARON, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER
“I made it very clear that when it comes to security of the Israeli citizens or the security of the existing state of Israel here, there is not going to be any compromises whatsoever not now and not in the future.”
During Monday’s rush hour, two suicide bombers rammed a vehicle laden with explosives into the back of a bus, causing it to explode and burn profusely. Emergency personnel and families were still searching for missing bodies the next day. Islamic jihad, the radical Palestinian movement claiming responsibility for the attack, has received endorsements from other militant groups such as Hezbollah. While Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, has condemned the bombing, Israeli officials still hold him responsible.