Tags: Dead | Scores | Wounded | Suicide | Bombing

3 Dead, Scores Wounded in Suicide Bombing

Tuesday, 05 November 2002 12:00 AM

The explosion occurred while Parliament discussed Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's decision to appoint a former military chief of general staff, Shaul Mofaz, to the post of defense minister. The legislators approved the appointment 69 to 39 with three abstentions. Sharon survived also three no-confidence motions, the first since his main coalition ally, the Labor Party quit the coalition last Wednesday, leaving him with a minority government.

The suicide bombing ended an eight-day lull since Oct. 27, when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a West Bank settlers' gas station, killing three soldiers. Israeli security foiled other suicide bombings.

The Islamic Jihad organization's armed wing claimed responsibility for the Monday suicide bombing. In a leaflet, the group identified the bomber as Nabil Sawalha from Ballatta refugee camp near Nablus in the West Bank.

Palestinian residents in the refugee camp said the Israeli army was sending reinforcements to the area, apparently in preparation for possibly raiding the camp in retaliation for the suicide bombing.

Monday's attacker approached the Arim shopping mall in a quiet residential neighborhood carrying a 10-kilo charge.

Police said it is believed that a security guard, who is missing and possibly among those killed, stopped the bomber from entering an electronics store. The wounded includes two babies, doctors said.

Kfar Sava is a few minutes' drive from the West Bank town of Qalqilya, which was was under curfew Monday, the army said.

While ambulances evacuated the injured, the Knesset continued discussing Mofaz's appointment and three no-confidence motions.

Much of the criticism was over the government's economic policy that has increased the number of poor people in Israel.

According to government figures released Monday, one out of five Israelis is poor. A poor person is one whose income is less than $365 a month. The new budget calls for cutting aid to such people.

Sharon survived all three no-confidence motions even though his coalition has only 55 members in the 120-seat Knesset.

It is not clear how long the Ihud Leumi-Israeli Beitenu will provide Sharon with a political safety net.

The prime minister wants to bring that faction into the coalition, and some Ihud Leumi-Israel Beitenu Knesset members would like to accept the invitation.

But the faction leader, Avigdor Lieberman, maintains Sharon should opt for early elections. Public opinion polls show the Likud would win national elections, if they were held now. It could form a stable right-wing, nationalist government.

Sharon irked Lieberman Monday when he told the Likud Knesset faction that in the future, he, too, would seek a national unity government, which means a coalition with the dovish Labor Party.

"When I form a government, I shall do everything so that this will be a unity government. This nation needs unity," Sharon stressed.

Lieberman wanted an assurance that no Palestinian state would emerge. Sharon, who is ready for Palestinian statehood, refused to break his commitments so Lieberman said: "What does he need me for? To save him in no-confidence votes? Are we chewing gum that you use and then throw away?"

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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The explosion occurred while Parliament discussed Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's decision to appoint a former military chief of general staff, Shaul Mofaz, to the post of defense minister. The legislators approved the appointment 69 to 39 with three abstentions. Sharon...
Dead,,Scores,Wounded,Suicide,Bombing
513
2002-00-05
Tuesday, 05 November 2002 12:00 AM
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