Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has cut short his visit to Washington and is flying back to Israel, following the latest suicide bombing in his country. Before leaving the U.S. capital, he denounced the terrorist attack, which killed at least ten people
Mr. Sharon reacted to the attack by saying there is no way Israel can move forward on a peaceful settlement in the Middle East with what he called a terrorist entity - a reference to the Palestinian Authority, headed by Yasser Arafat.
In a news conference, Mr. Sharon repeated the tough stance he has taken several times before to describe the conditions under which his country will negotiate. Mr. Sharon said, "Israel will not surrender to blackmail. Israel will not surrender to blackmail. He who rises up to kill us, we will pre-empt it and kill him first."
Mr. Sharon placed the blame for the attack on the Palestinian Authority, although he did not mention Chairman Yasser Arafat, by name.
He said the battle will continue until those who believe they can make gains through terrorism cease to exist.
Earlier, Mr. Sharon met with President Bush at the White House. A spokesman said Mr. Bush expressed his disgust with the wanton waste of life in the bombing.
The two men failed to forge any major agreements during their talks. Mr. Bush repeated his support for an eventual Palestinian state.
At his news conference, Mr. Sharon said, although he had come to the United States to discuss the possibility of reform in the Palestinian Authority, there is no way to move forward on the political process with what he calls terrorists and a corrupt entity.
The attack in Israel came in the middle of the White House talks.
After the meeting, Mr. Bush said he is sending Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet to the Mideast. However, aides later said that trip is being re-evaluated.