Another bomb blast in Israel tops our news today. At least 4 people were killed and 30 more were wounded in the blast which took place in a northern Israeli town. It was the fifth such bombing in three days. As a result of the new wave of attacks, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon postponed a trip to Washington delaying talks with U.S. President George W. Bush on the U.S.-backed “road map” plan for peace in the Middle East. Amy Katz has details.
Despite the surge in violence, President Bush says he is confident the Middle East peace process can still move forward. He made the comments at a joint news conference with visiting Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH
“It is clear that the process is not going to be smooth, so long as terrorists kill. And it’s a stark reminder that there are killers who can’t stand the thought of peace. And it’s sad. It’s pathetic.”
President Bush urged Israelis and Palestinians to fight against terrorism and to work for peace. He also stressed he plans to stay on the road to peace – even if it is bumpy – until his vision of two states – Israel and Palestine – living side by side in peace – is achieved.
Earlier Monday, in Afula, a suicide bomber set off an explosion while waiting in line for a security check at a crowded shopping center. The Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.
Just hours before that blast, a suicide bomber riding a bicycle detonated explosives near an Israeli Army jeep -- wounding 3 Israeli soldiers – near the Jewish settlement of Kfar Darom.
9 people were killed in the other most recent suicide bombings. The worst of those attacks took place on Sunday in Jerusalem – when a bomber dressed as a religious Jew blew himself up on a commuter bus, killing 7 Israelis. The Palestinian militant group Hamas claimed responsibility for all the bombings except the Monday Afula attack.
Israel closed its borders with the West Bank and Gaza Strip soon after the Sunday blast.
The wave of attacks started just hours after Israeli Prime Minster Ariel Sharon and new Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas met in Jerusalem Saturday. It was the highest–level meeting between the Israelis and Palestinians in more than 2 years.