Two strong explosions sounded in Israel’s capital, Tel Aviv on Sunday. According to the latest information, 23 people were killed and over 100 wounded. Nine of the wounded are in a critical situation. There are several foreigners among the victims of the terrorism act, as many workers from other countries are living in the district where the explosion sounded. It is not clear from what countries the victims are. Two suicide bombers blew up near the central bus station. Majority of the victims are guests of McChina restaurant situated close to the bus station. Police and doctors came to the accident site immediately.
Radical Palestinian group “Islamic jihad” claimed responsibility for the terrorism act. Representatives of the organization called the office of Lebanon’s TV Al Manar and informed of their connection with the explosion in Tel Aviv. Later, representatives of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Bridage, connected with Arafat’s Fatah, also claimed responsibility for the terrorism act. A missile attack at Gaza became Israel’s response to the Sunday explosion; witnesses say that five or six missiles were launched against the city.
Helicopters destroyed a workshop producing iron ware in Gaza. Israeli stated that arms were produced there, however Palestinians themselves say that the workshop repaired automobile spare parts. Besides, Israel’s tanks went into the camp of Palestinian refugees, Rafah, in southern Gaza Strip.
According to the recent information, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and top officials of his Cabinet approved the plans of the army to deliver new attacks against Palestinian terrorists. However, the suggestion to expel Yasser Arafat voiced by Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was rejected. Some sources also report that the Cabinet decided to prohibit members of the Palestinian delegation to leave for London on January 14 for a meeting with the “Mideast quartet” consisting of representatives of Russia, the USA, the European Union and the United Nations. The conference in London is designed to become one of the steps of the international community toward launching a peace process in the Middle East and to make for summoning a large-scale conference on Mideast settlement.
Elections to the Knesset are scheduled for January 28 in Israel. The Sunday acts of terrorism will urge the population to vote for Likud, which strict position concerning the autonomy attracts more and more supporters.
Dmitry Chirkin PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://world.pravda.ru/world/2003/5/15/39/5169_Israil.html
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