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ISRAEL - Aug 28 - Suicide Bomber Attacks Bus Station.

A suicide bomber blows himself up at a busy bus station in Beersheba, southern Israel, seriously wounding two security guards who chased him and foils a potentially much deadlier attack. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the first bombing since Israel last week completed the evacuation of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank. The last such attack in Israel was on July 12, when a bomber killed five people at a coastal shopping mall. Israeli commandos hunting the perpetrators of that attack last week killed five men in the West Bank, prompting threats of retaliation by Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian militant groups. PA president Mahmoud Abbas, who described Israel's West Bank raid as a provocation, on Aug 28 denounced the latest bombing in Beersheba as a terrorist attack. Fifty people were treated at hospital after the blast, most of them for shock. Although the militant groups agreed earlier this year to respect a period of calm in their conflict with Israel, they reserved a right to retaliate for what they regard as Israeli aggression. The rush-hour blast in Beersheba came shortly after Abbas told Israel Radio that he regarded a ceasefire he declared with PM Ariel Sharon, in February as indefinite. Militant groups such as Hamas, the main political opposition to Abbas, insist the term of the period of calm expires at the end of this year. Israeli officials reiterated that the PA was not doing enough to clamp down on the militants, although Palestinian officials note that many attacks have been mounted from areas of the West Bank that are under Israel's military control. The Beersheba attack came a day after Mohammad Deif, Israel's most wanted man, appeared in a Hamas video claiming Israel's withdrawal from Gaza was a victory for Palestinian resistance and calling for the liberation of the whole of Palestine, including areas within Israel's borders. Deif, head of Hamas's military wing, also warned the PA not to attempt to disarm militants and to maintain a policy of dialogue. "The liberation of Gaza is an important lesson for us all", he said. "Let's all draw the conclusions and keep the resistance weapons legitimate". The Israeli cabinet on Aug 28 approved the deployment of 750 Egyptian paramilitary police along the Gaza-Egyptian border to prevent weapons smuggling into the territory. The measure, which opponents say contravenes the demilitarisation of Sinai agreed as part of Israel's peace treaty with Egypt, goes before parliament this week.
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Date:Sep 3, 2005
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