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Palestinian Islamic Jihad murders 12 Israelis
The Jerusalem Post (www.jpost.com) reports that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad attempted to murder dozens of Israeli worshipers. They managed to kill 12 people:
Palestinian gunmen opened fire shortly after 7:30 PM on a group of Israelis leaving Friday night prayer services in the Jewish Quarter of Hebron killing at [least] twelve people and wounding 13.
Israeli radio just reported that there another injured, including 4 in critical condition. I copy the full article below.
12 KILLED, 13 WOUNDED IN HEBRON SHOOTING ATTACK
Palestinian gunmen opened fire shortly after 7:30 PM on a group of Israelis leaving Friday night prayer services in the Jewish Quarter of Hebron killing at twelve people and wounding 13.
As security forces rushed to evacuate the wounded they came under heavy sniper fire and hand grenades were thrown at them in what an army officer called a complex ambush. The attack came from terrorists situated in the Abu Sneineh neighborhood overlooking the Jewish Quarter in the divided West Bank city.
There are both civilians and soldiers among the dead.
Troops and the gunmen traded fire for over forty minutes before rescue workers managed to evacuate the wounded in bullet proof ambulances.
The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack in a call to the Al Jazeera telivision station, saying that it was in response for the killing of an Islamic Jihad leader Iyad Sawalha in Jenin by IDF troops earlier in the week.
The attack comes as Fatah and Hamas are reportedly discussing a three-month cease-fire in Cairo. Islamic Jihad is not part of the talks - and even an agreement in those talks would not have stopped Friday's attacks; a possible moratorium would not apply to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where all Palestinian groups view soldiers and settlers as legitimate targets.
Security officials convened an urgent meeting in Tel Aviv and media reports say that a large-scale retaliatory operation is almost a certainty.
Both Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz were being kept constantly updated on events in Hebron, but the cabinet is not expected to convene on Friday night.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Gilad Millo called the attack a "Sabbath massacre."
"No political process can take root while these atrocities continue to be carried out by Palestinian terrorists," he said.
Some of the wounded are in a critical and serious condition and have been taken to the Hadassah Hospital, Ein Kerem and the Sha'arei Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem by ambulances and helicopters. A Magen David Adom spokesman said that all the wounded had been evacuated.
Among the wounded are one person in a critical condition, three in a serious condition, one moderately wounded and eight people were lightly wounded.
The attackers opened fire on the Jews as they wound their way from Hebron to the nearby Kiryat Arba neighborhood following payers to mark the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath at the Tomb of the Patriarchs, the burial cave of the biblical Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and a place revered by both Muslims and Jews.
Many Jews living in Kiryat Arba walk to the holy site every Friday evening, and the route is heavily guarded by Israeli security forces.
The move was part of the 'Judea First' plan approved by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon based on recommendations by then-defense minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer.
The decision to withdraw from most of the city was severely criticized by Jewish residents, who said they fear that the IDF will later also leave the Palestinian neighborhoods overlooking the Jewish community and leave the Jewish residents to face further terrorist acts.
(With The Associated Press)
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