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3 Israeli Soldiers Die in West Bank Suicide Bombing - 2002-10-27


The armed wing of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed three Israeli soldiers. Up to 30 other people were wounded in the attack near a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization and the military wing of Fatah, says it was responsible for the suicide bombing attack.

The group identified the bomber as Mohammed Kashir, a Palestinian youth from Nablus in the West Bank. He was on Israel's most wanted list of Palestinian fugitives.

Nablus is situated close to the Jewish settlement of Ariel. The attack took place at a gas station at the entrance to the settlement.

Palestinian Cabinet Minister Nabil Sha'ath said the Palestinian Authority opposes such killings. "We are against any action, particularly now, against civilians whether they be Israelis or Palestinians," said Mr. Sha'ath. "We are for every action that will enhance our ability to go back to the peace process, which will end Israeli [military] occupation" of Palestinian areas.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Sofer blamed the Palestinian Authority for doing nothing while Palestinian militants continued to murder Israeli civilians.

"Once again the despicable bloodletting of innocent Israelis has been unleashed by Palestinian terrorists," he said, adding that there is "absolutely no road map, no movement towards accommodation, no process of peace can ever take root, while Palestinians continue to perpetrate these type of atrocities against people going around their daily lives. And we just wonder, and cannot fail to stop wondering, what they want on earth they want to achieve by these type of barbarisms?"

Within hours of the attack, Israeli security forces warned that they were searching for another Palestinian suspected of planning a suicide bombing inside Israel.

Police were searching for the suspect in the area north of Tel Aviv, close to the West Bank.

Meanwhile, Palestinians security forces announced they were also looking for a Palestinian girl suspected of planning a suicide bombing in Jerusalem. Israeli forces are also believed to have joined the hunt.

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