Middle East & Africa
Israel Closes Down Hebron
Double Bombing Leaves 16 Dead, 100 Wounded
By Yasser AbuMoailek
Mid East Correspondent
Gaza City, Sept. 1, 2004 — Ending a six-month lull in attacks, a double suicide bombing killed 16 Israelis and wounded about a hundred others when two Palestinians blew themselves up in the desert city of Beer Sheva, south of Israel. The explosions ripped through two buses only 90 meters away, killing many of the passengers inside and wounding scores others inside and outside. The Hamas militant group claimed responsibility for the attack, and said in a leaflet distributed that both bombers came from the nearby city of Hebron in the West Bank, and that the attacks were to avenge the assassination of both its founder and spiritual leader last March and his successor one month later. Israel has claimed before that the recent silence in Palestinian attacks was attributed to its separation fence, which Palestinians call Apartheid Wall, as well as its sweeps on and arrests of militants. Following the explosions, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon convened his security advisor, after which he gave the Israeli army a free hand to strike down on militants, mainly those belonging to Hamas. However, Sharon decided he would push on with his purported withdrawal from Gaza Strip.
|Scene of the bombing in the Israeli city of Beer Sheva, where two Palestinian bombers blew themselves up inside two buses there.|
Tuesday's attack was the deadliest since a female bomber killed 21 people on October 4, 2003, in the northern city of Haifa — an attack that prompted Israel to assassinate Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas, and his successor, Abdel Aziz Rantisi. Beer Sheva's scenes of charred buses and rescue workers running everywhere reminded the Israeli society of the experience and the horror resulting from such attacks. Not long after the attacks, the Palestinian Authority denounced the Beer Shave bombings, condemning the killing of civilians on both sides, and calling Israel to return to the negotiations table and assume its responsibilities in compliance with the Road Map peace plan. Following the attacks, Israeli forces stormed Hebron City and surrounded the house of one of the attackers, Ahmad Al Qawasmi, and blew it up. Later on the Israeli forces demolished the house of the second attacker, Naseem Jabari. Israeli forces continue to besiege the city of Hebron, closing all entrances and isolating the city from the outside world.
|The bombing in Beer Sheva left 16 Israelis dead and about 100 others wounded, according to medical sources.|
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Yasser AbuMoailek, who is Certified Professional Translator between Arabic and English, serves as Middle East correspondent for The Seoul Times. He also work as a journalist and feature writer at the International Press Center in Gaza Strip. As a journalist he monitors the situation in the Middle East, especially the Palestinian territories.