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U.S. Teen Remains in Critical Condition

By Ha'aretz

Six of the nine victims of Monday's suicide bombing in Tel Aviv were laid to rest Tuesday, while 36 people, including an unidentified American teenager who remains in critical condition, were still receiving hospital treatment for their wounds. The dead are David Shaulov, 29, Philip Balasan, 45, Benjamin Haputa, 47, Victor Erez, 60, Lily Yunes, 42, and 31-year-old Ariel Darhi. Two Romanian workers, Boda Firushka, 50, and Roselia Basanya, 48, will be buried in their homeland.

Hamas Defends Murderous Attack


Though both Fatah and Islamic Jihad claimed to have carried out Monday's suicide attack in Tel Aviv, Hamas - the terrorist organization that runs the Palestinian Authority - defended it, and blamed Israel.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called the multiple murders a "natural result of the continued Israeli crimes against our people. The Israeli occupation bears responsibility for the continuation of its aggression. Our people are in a state of self-defense and they have every right to use all means to defend themselves."

The powerful and deadly blast occurred at 1:30 p.m. in southern Tel Aviv, at a fast food stand on the streets that housed the old Central Bus Station. The explosion was felt throughout a radius of at least 1.5 miles. More than 60 people were wounded.

At the time of the attack, Israel's security apparatus was studying 19 specific terrorist threats - of which the fatal attack was not one. Some 80 additional general threats of attack have also been reported to Israel's intelligence agencies.

Though the IDF attacked targets in Gaza Monday, and arrested 38 terrorists throughout Judea and Samaria since Monday, the government may not want to retaliate in a major way in order not to harm the international diplomatic anti-Hamas campaign. MK Roni Bar-On, expected to be appointed a Cabinet minister by Ehud Olmert in the coming weeks, said today that the terrorist state of Hamas should be destroyed, but that does not appear to be a realistic option at present.

Terrorists Demand Abbas Apology for Condemning Tel Aviv Attack

By Ha'aretz

Palestinian terrorist groups demanded an apology Tuesday from Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas for condemning Monday's deadly suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, in their harshest criticism yet of the moderate leader over his stand on violence.

The criticism, including from armed groups within Abbas' own Fatah party, underscored a growing debate among Palestinians over the use of violence against Israel. "We ask President Abbas to apologize to the entire Palestinian people because of the offense he committed," the groups said in a joint statement by a coalition of terrorist murders read by a masked gunman at an open-air news conference in Gaza.

Abbas said Monday that the attack, which killed nine people, ran counter to Palestinian interests. But he used stronger wording than usual, describing the attack as "despicable." The terrorists objected to his wording, saying that it was insulting to Palestinian "martyrs who sacrificed their lives and souls."

"Abu Mazen [Abbas] should have condemned the killings of our people and fighters rather than condemning Palestinian acts of self-defense," the statement said, issued in the name of three Fatah-linked groups and the Popular Resistance Committees, an umbrella group of Palestinian militants.

A senior minister in the Hamas-led government, alluding to the Tel Aviv suicide bombing, upheld the position Tuesday, saying that Palestinians had the right to defend themselves against Israel in any way possible.

The comments from Interior Minister Saeed Seyam were the first from a cabinet-level Hamas official member in response to the attack. "We are not a great power who can confront the planes and the missiles of the occupation, but our people have the will and the right to defend themselves and to confront as much as they can the arrogances of the occupation."

Also Tuesday, Israel Defense Forces troops raided a West Bank village near Jenin, arresting the father of the suicide bomber. Israel Radio reported that in addition to the father, Samih Hammad, the IDF also took into custody two of the bomber's friends.

The family of the bomber had emptied the home of all furniture overnight for fear the army would demolish the building, as it often does the homes of attackers, the witnesses said. But the army was not immediately preparing to destroy the building, the witnesses said.

The Islamic Jihad movement, hailing its Monday suicide bombing that killed nine people and wounded scores in Tel Aviv, has warned that has an army of 70 suicide bombers who plan to blow themselves up in Israel.

The "martyrdom operation" was "the first fruit of a recently formed unit of bombers, which includes 70 male and female bombers," Islamic Jihad spokesman Abu Ahmed told reporters in Gaza hours after the attack.

The Islamic Jihad bomber who carried out the Monday afternoon attack said in a video released by the organization that many more bombers were "on the way."

There were unconfirmed reports that the bomber was much younger, perhaps as young as 16. In the video, Hammed said the bombing was dedicated to the thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. "There are many other bombers on the way," he said.

The bomber reached Tel Aviv from the West Bank despite a total closure on the territories, and large numbers of security forces deployed around the country due to a high alert for Passover. The Shin Bet security service is trying to work out the route the bomber took to reach his destination. A gag has been placed on the details of the investigation.

The blast ripped through Falafel "Rosh Ha'ir," the same restaurant that was hit by an attack on January 19 in which 20 people were wounded. The restaurant is in the bustling Neveh Sha'anan neighborhood near the bus station, and is home to large numbers of migrant workers.

Iranian President Warns Against Military Aggression

By Lindsay Wise (VOA-Cairo)

As senior diplomats from six major world powers prepared to discuss strategies for resolving the Iranian nuclear crisis at a meeting in Moscow, hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stepped up his rhetoric, saying Iran's military is ready to punish any attacker.

At a military parade in Tehran, Ahmadinejad warned that Iran's enemies would regret attacking the country. "The Iranian army could defend the country and cut off the hand off any aggressor and the enemy would be left in shame," he said. "The Iranian army should be ready, should be equipped with the latest technology and they have to be careful."

Iran announced last week it has succeeded in enriching uranium - an important step toward producing nuclear energy or a weapon. Ahmadinejad has remained defiant in the face of a U.N. Security Council demand that Iran halt its uranium-enrichment program by the end of April.

Iran claims its nuclear program is intended for peaceful use in power stations, but the United States and Britain suspect Tehran is secretly planning to build an atomic bomb. They say that unless Iran stops its uranium-enrichment efforts, they will seek to impose international sanctions.

Although U.S. officials have denied that they are actively considering military action against Iran, they have also refused to rule out the use of force.

In his speech to military officers at the parade, Ahmadinejad said Iran should be ready and vigilant against attack, but he also acknowledged that peace and stability are in the country's interest.

He said the elite Iranian army should be serving human beings, especially Iran's neighbors in the region, and that Iran's power is not a threat to any country.

Researchers Regenerate Tendons, Ligaments with Stem Cells

By Gamla News Service

Israeli researchers are using adult stem cells to regenerate torn tendon and ligament tissue at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Adult stem cells are being used by an Israeli research team to create a new orthopedic solution to a difficult and common problem: how to heal torn ligaments and tendons.

The research team, led by Professor Dan Gazit, is working to change this by using stem cells taken from bone marrow and genetically engineering them to become different cells altogether.

"With this in mind, we can genetically engineer new skeletal tissue - ligaments, cartilage, tendons," explained Dr. Gadi Peled, a senior scientist at the lab.

The stem cells were injected with two proteins, called Smad8 and BMP2, and were then injected into the torn Achilles tendons of rats at the Skeletal Biotechnology Laboratory at Hebrew University's Faculty of Dental Medicine. The cells were drawn to the site of the injury and were able to repair the tendon, said Peled. "There was complete healing in seven weeks, which is very quick," he told Israel21c.

A special type of imaging test, developed by Professor Gil Navon at Tel Aviv University, was used in the study to identify the tendon tissue repairs. The test, known as proton DQF MRI, differentiates between tendons, bones, skin and muscle, all of which contain different amounts of collagen.

Peled said that in time, the new technology might be used to help people who suffer with lower back pain as well. Invertebrate discs consist largely of tendon tissue that deteriorates over time. "Our next step will be to conduct the tests on large animals. For tendons and ligaments, goats are the best subjects," he said. Pigs will be used for invertebrate disc research.

Clinical trials on bone regeneration are currently being conducted on humans by Hadassah Medical Center together with Teva Pharmaceuticals, using the same adult stem cells. "The nice thing about this is that depending on the protein you introduce, it creates different tissue," said Peled.

The new approach for tendon regeneration was reported in the April issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

McDonald's Presents a Passover Rip-Off


McDonald's has found a creative way to raise prices in Israel during the Passover holiday by removing desserts that are not kosher for Passover from its children's meals for the duration of Pesach, But Ynet reported that McDonald's continues to charge full price for those meals.

The move in essence constitutes a price hike, but the fast food chain has not informed its customers of the change.

In response to the report, McDonald's issued the following statement: "In Pesach we offer a special menu and special sizes based on products that are kosher for Passover." The fast food chain noted that the non-kosher desserts would be again added to the children's meal once the holiday is over.

However, it appears McDonald's has no intention of lowering children's meal prices, so for now customers will be forced to pay the full meal price for a smaller meal.

About six months ago, McDonald's raised the prices of meals at its branches by about three percent, but the price of upsizing meals went up by up to 31 percent.

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