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>Israel Faxx
>JN Feb. 18, 2002, Vol. 10, No. 33

Two Dead, Five Wounded In Mideast Violence

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Two Palestinians are dead and at least five Israelis wounded after police in northern Israel foiled what could have been a much more bloody suicide attack.

When Israeli traffic police, late Sunday, stopped two Palestinians traveling towards a military base east of Hadera, one of the Palestinians began shooting at the police. They returned fire and killed the assailant. The second man drove off in the car, with the police in hot pursuit, and blew himself up near the army base. The blast wounded three policemen and at least two other people.

Israeli security forces rushed to the area and began searching for other possible attackers. Police had been on high alert prior to the incident, amid warnings of more terrorist strikes.

The Al-Aqsa Brigade, an armed group affiliated with Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat's Fatah movement, claimed responsibility.

Responding to the latest attack, a spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Israeli will not escalate the violence against the Palestinians. But he said terrorists will soon find out that Israel has many ways more ways to hit back than ever before.

Sunday's incident came hours after Israeli jets and helicopters struck Palestinian targets in the West Bank city of Nablus. The air strikes were in direct retaliation for Saturday's suicide bombing of a pizzeria at a Jewish settlement that killed two teenagers and wounded 30 other people. The militant group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, claimed responsibility for the bombing.

The latest attack comes one day after a Palestinian suicide bomber set off a large explosion in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank, killing himself and two Israeli teenagers. In retaliation, Israeli warplanes bombed Palestinian Authority targets in the West Bank city of Nablus.

Danny Ayalon, a Sharon spokesman, blamed Arafat for orchestrating the upsurge in violence. "Arafat's campaign of terror continues and indeed intensifies. He is completely responsible for the detonation. And it seems like he is bent on deterioration, escalation, and confrontation. Israel will know how to defend itself."

During an extended Israeli cabinet meeting, Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said that Palestinian militant groups seem to be competing among themselves to see who can launch the most daring attack against the Jewish State.

Three Killed by Suicide Bombing in West Bank

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

At least three people were killed and 30 wounded after a suspected Palestinian suicide bomber set off a large explosion late Saturday night at a shopping mall in Karnei Somron, a Jewish settlement in the northern West Bank. The bomber is believed to have died in the blast.

The blast was set off either inside a pizzeria or at sitting area nearby. Most of the victims appeared to be young Israelis. Israeli troops and police rushed to the site of the attack, evacuated the area and began searching for other explosive devices.

The attack was another blow to Israel's security, coming only days after Palestinians destroyed an Israeli Merkava tank, considered to be one of the safest military vehicles in the world.

Jewish settlements, considered by many Palestinians as a legitimate target for attacks, are meant to heavily secured against any potential terrorist threats.

Police are investigating whether the suicide bomber had been an Arab employee at the shopping center. Residents of the West Bank settlement claimed that some businesses employed Palestinians and some of the shoppers were also Palestinians.

The explosion came shortly after the Palestinian militant group Hamas said it would avenge the killing of one its military leaders, Nazih Abu Sabaa. He died early on Saturday in the northern West Bank town of Jenin when his car exploded. Palestinian officials blamed Israel, saying that the car was rigged with explosives.

Palestinians Launch Second Rocket at Israeli Settlement

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Palestinians fired a Qassam 2 rocket Saturday at an Israeli settlement close to the Gaza Strip, the second such launching of the weapon in a week. The attack came hours after Israeli war planes fired missiles at Palestinian security targets at a refugee camp near Gaza City.

The launch of the Qassam rocket apparently came from the Palestinian village of Beit Hanoun in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, where just three days ago the Israeli army carried out an operation designed to stop the use of such weapons.

The rocket has a range of slightly less than five miles, longer than mortars or other rockets previously used by Palestinians.

Which Dressing Goes on a Three Ton Salad?


That is one of the questions that may have been asked by those participating in a tour organized by the Jewish National Fund and the Ministry of Agriculture last week.

The salad in question was made of vegetables from agricultural settlements in the Arava Desert in southern Israel and prepared at the Arava-based Center for Agricultural Research and Development. The Jewish Agency reported that the salad was the biggest in the world.

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