Tags: Islamic | Jihad | Takes | Blame | for | Jerusalem | Bomb

Islamic Jihad Takes Blame for Jerusalem Bomb

Thursday, 02 November 2000 12:00 AM

The explosion came as Israeli and Palestinian leaders were to announce efforts toward a cease-fire to five weeks of fighting.

A Lebanese Hezbollah television report quoted a spokesman for the group as saying Jerusalem Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, carried out the attack.

"The Jerusalem Brigades affirms that this action came as part of our response to the crimes of the Israeli enemy against defenseless Palestinian people," the group said in a statement sent to the New York Times. The group had initially denied carrying out the bombing.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat condemned the new eruption of violence. "We are against it completely."

In Washington, President Clinton called again on Israelis and Palestinians to help move peace forward.

"It is time," he said, "for those who believe in peace to stand together to stop this violence and to work against the terrorists."

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called on Arafat to "do everything within his power to control these things."

One of those killed in the blast was the daughter of a leading politician. Ayelet-Hashahar Levy, was the adopted daughter of Rabbi Yitzhak Levy, chairman of the right-wing National Religious Party and former Minister of Housing, police reported. She reportedly had moved that day to Jerusalem. The other victim was an attorney, Hanan Levy, 34. They were not related.

Six of the wounded were members of a family who had moved to the street from the southern neighborhood of Giloh to escape nightly shooting there.

The bomb exploded on a side street near the popular outdoor Mahane Yehuda market, filling the air with shards of glass and black smoke.

Prime Minister Ehud Barak blamed the Palestinian Authority for "loosening the reins" on terrorists by releasing militant Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners.

Arafat has released 40 terrorists in the past month, giving a green light to terrorist attacks, Israeli officials said.

Hawkish opposition leaders maintained the government ought to break away from the Oslo accords, a 1993 agreement between Israel and the Palestinians to pursue a peace agreement.

Deputy Defense Minister Sneh insisted the attack does not change the understandings Israel reached with the Palestinian Authority, though it does make one issue more acute.

"The Palestinians must quickly re-arrest the freed terrorists because they are the ones behind the terrorist attacks. If they won't be put back into jail, quickly, this will continue," he predicted.

Late Thursday, the Palestinians issued a statement urging "the masses of our struggling people and their national forces ... to continue their popular expressions through peaceful means."

Hours later, a spokesman for Barak quoted the prime minister as saying the text of the agreement that former Prime Minister Shimon Peres and Arafat had worked out in Gaza was "acceptable." The planned statement had called for an end to all violence.

But the spokesman said Barak "regretted" that Arafat had issued a written statement instead of delivering an oral message. Barak, according to his spokesman, said "the real test will be in the actual implementation of those understandings in the field."

About an hour before the bombing, Barak and Arafat had been scheduled to issue statements calling for a reduction of violence in the West Bank and Gaza.

Even though the statements were not made, both sides seemed to move to implement the understandings reached between Arafat and Peres. The Israeli army's spokesman said Thursday night that the army had pulled back tanks that had been posted on front-line positions in the West Bank. Israeli armored vehicles were moved from roadsides in Gaza, the spokesman added.

Copyright 2000 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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The explosion came as Israeli and Palestinian leaders were to announce efforts toward a cease-fire to five weeks of fighting. A Lebanese Hezbollah television report quoted a spokesman for the group as saying Jerusalem Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad...
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Thursday, 02 November 2000 12:00 AM
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