Palestinian authorities little help in Gaza probe; U.S. sets reward

Tuesday, November 4, 2003

The United States has offered a $5 million reward for those who carried out a bombing attack that killed three U.S. government-employed security guards in the Gaza Strip.

The State Department issued the offer last week after U.S. officials said they received little cooperation from the Palestinian Authority in the investigation of an Oct. 15 roadside bombing outside Gaza City. A Palestinian group aligned with the ruling Fatah movement claimed responsibility for the attack.

The department said the U.S. casualties were comprised of three security personnel working for the U.S. military contractor DynCorp. The bodyguards had been securing a three-vehicle U.S. embassy convoy to the Gaza Strip to interview Palestinian candidates for Fulbright Scholarship grants, Middle East Newsline reported.

Officials said the $5 million reward has been offered through the State Department's Rewards for Justice program. The program, which seeks to prevent attacks against U.S. nationals and interests, offers rewards for information leading to the arrest and or conviction of those who attempt to commit acts against U.S. interests.

PA police detained up to seven suspects in the attack. But U.S. officials said the suspects were not believed related to the bombing.

Over the weekend, Israel eased restrictions on the entry of Palestinian laborers and businessmen to the Jewish state. The measure allowed an additional 10,000 Palestinian workers from the Gaza Strip to enter Israel. Israel's military also eased restrictions on Palestinian surface transportation within cities in the West Bank.

On Sunday, Hamas gunners fired a Kassam-class short-range missile toward Israel. The Kassam missile landed in a field in the Israeli city of Sderot and nobody was injured.

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