Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Israel - return of the suicide bombers

Israeli policeman, Kobe Mor, shoots the suicide bomber dead

Israel has seen its first suicide bombing in months killing one Israeli and injuring nine others [BBC]. The attack took place in the southern Israeli town of Dimona at a shopping centre. The first bomber detonated his explosives whilst in a queue, but a second suicide attack was thwarted after another man wearing a suicide belt was injured and left semi-conscious on the ground. He was later dispatched by an Israeli police officer, Kobe Mor, who gave an account of the incident to Israeli television. “I took my gun and fired about five shots into his head” the policeman said. The bombers aged 24 and 21, one of them a member of the Al Aqsa Martyr Brigades which is loosely affiliated with the Palestinian authority led by Mahmoud Abbas. The other bomber was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The Palestinian authority has repudiated the bombing but said it was as a result of Israeli attacks within Palestinian territories in recent weeks and the closing of borders. Hamas have since claimed responsibility for the bombing but deny their bombers made it through via recently breached borders with Egypt. Besides Hamas having claimed responsibility, Abu Walid, of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, also made a statement saying his group had carried out the attack. Nonetheless the Israeli authorise remain on high alert with further attacks likely as some militants may have used the border breach as a way of crossing into Israel. Amongst Palestinians there are mixed feelings about the bombing. Some hail the bombers as heroes, but there are reservations amongst some Palestinians concerned about what retribution Israel may carry out. One resident of Gaza told Al Jazeera “We were waiting for things to get better, but this operation will only lead to more pressure on ordinary people.” Already Israeli troops have taken action against Hamas militants with at least two killed [Al Jazeera]. And in the last hour Israel has launched airstrikes in Gaza killing 5 and injuring seven others.

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