Bomb attack targets U.S. diplomats in Gaza

Special to World
Thursday, October 16, 2003

GAZA CITY At least three people were killed when a convoy of U.S. diplomats was attacked by Palestinian insurgents in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian sources said the U.S. diplomatic convoy attacked on Wednesday was heading from the Israeli military terminal of Erez toward Gaza City. The sources said a roadside bomb was detonated as the convoy passed. The casualties were not identified, but sources said they comprised American security personnel as well as two U.S. diplomats. The number of casualties from the bombing was placed as between two and four.

The sources said a large roadside bomb was detonated near a U.S. embassy armored jeep about two kilometers south of Erez. The jeep was said to have been destroyed.

It was the first Palestinian attack on a U.S. government group in the Gaza Strip and came hours after Washington vetoed a resolution that sought to condemn Israel for its security fence project. The sources said the attack appeared to be the result of weeks of intelligence-gathering on the travel habits of U.S. officials in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian security officers had been guarding the convoy durign the trip from Erez to Gaza City. The sources said U.S. presidential envoy John Wolf and aides have often shuttled to PA offices in the Gaza Strip, but have tried to shift their routes and schedules to avoid attacks.

Wolf, who has been in Washington, was not said to have been in the convoy. The sources said the convoy contained both U.S. diplomats and CIA officers.

Wolf heads a U.S. team that monitors implementation of the roadmap, an international plan that calls for an interim Palestinian state by the end of 2003. The plan also stipulates the end of the Israeli-Palestinian war.

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