New Middle East violence. The Israeli army shot and killed two Palestinians – including a teenager – near Ramallah Thursday. At least two others were wounded – when the soldiers fired on a group of young Palestinians - who were throwing stones. The incident came just hours after a suicide bomber blew himself up in Israel - killing at least one Israeli and wounding 10 more. Amy Katz has details.
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades – an armed group with ties to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction – claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing. It happened during the morning rush hour at a train station in the town of Kfar Saba – in central Israel – northeast of Tel Aviv. The bomber set off his explosives at the entrance to the station after security guards stopped him there – which Israeli police say kept the number of casualties down.
NATURAL SOUND - ARAFAT SPEAKING IN ARABIC
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat condemned the Thursday attack as well as other such attacks. The bombing came just a day after Mr. Arafat and his Prime Minister designate Mahmoud Abbas reached an agreement on a new Palestinian government – aimed at ending the violence and paving the way back to peace talks.
A spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Jonathan Peled, said this latest suicide bombing is a clear reminder that as long as terror against innocent Israelis continues, there cannot be progress toward peace.
JONATHAN PELED, ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN
“And it’s clear proof that there is an urgent need for reform in the Palestinian Authority. It will be the top and first priority of the new Palestinian Prime Minister to eradicate and put an end to terror because terror and violence cannot go hand in hand with negotiations.”
Israeli officials have said they are willing to give the new Palestinian Prime Minster a chance to prove he is against violence and terrorism. The Bush administration has said it will publish the so-called “road map” for peace in the Middle East, once the new Palestinian government is officially confirmed. That is expected to happen within days.