Sharon blames fence ruling
for new bombing attack

Monday, July 12, 2004

TEL AVIV Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has blamed the first Palestinian bombing attack in nearly 4 months on a ruling by a world court in Hague against the security fence along the West Bank.

"This is the first terror strike against Israel since the international court decision in the Hague," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said. "I want to make it clear: the state of Israel completely rejects the legal opinion of the Hague. It is a completely one-sided decision. The legal opinion sends a lethal message."

On Sunday, at least one person an Israeli military sergeant was killed and 34 others were injured in a bombing of a crowded bus station in Tel Aviv.

The Tel Aviv bombing was the first major Palestinian attack in Israel since March 14 when 10 Israelis were killed in a suicide bombing in the southern port of Ashdod. Officials said the bomb was apparently detonated by remote control during morning rush hour. The explosion took place as a bus left the station in southern Tel Aviv, populated by foreign laborers, Middle East Newsline reported.

"The lull was mendacious," Israeli police chief Inspector General Shlomo Aharonishki said. "It wasn't that the terrorists didn't try to carry out attacks. They were just unable to."

Officials said Israeli authorities were placed on alert for a renewed Palestinian insurgency campaign in wake of the July 9 ruling by the International Court of Justice against Israel's security fence and barrier along the West Bank. Officials had attributed the lull in attacks on Israel in part to the security fence, which covers the northern and central line of the West Bank.

The Fatah-dominated Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility for the attack. Israeli officials said authorities have received 47 alerts of Palestinian suicide and other major strikes.

The Palestinian campaign has included missile attacks on southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. On late July 10, two Kassam-class short-range missiles slammed in and around an Israeli kibbutz, damaging a residential building.

Overnight Monday, Israeli troops raided Khan Yunis in the central Gaza Strip. Palestinian sources said an elderly Palestinian was killed when a military bulldozer destroyed a structure.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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