Newsletter : 6fax0305.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
March 5, 1996 V4, #41
All the News the Big Guys Missed
Bodies, Blood and Burning in Tel Aviv
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
There was another suicide bombing in Israel Monday afternoon, this
time in downtown Tel Aviv, killing 13 people and injuring 126. It
was claimed by the militant Palestinian group Hamas. Israel's
government responded by giving its armed forces what Cabinet
ministers called a "free hand" to move against against the
militants, wherever they are located.
The attacker apparently wanted to go into the Dizengoff Center, one
of Tel Aviv's largest, multi-story shopping malls. But seeing
guards at the entrances he decided to set off his bomb outside. It
was the evening rush hour and the area was crowded with commuters
and shoppers. There was a particularly large number of children in
the area -- many of them in costume -- for the Jewish holiday of
Purim, which started last night.
Trained medic and Tel Aviv resident Adam Bier rushed to the scene.
"I ran down to the scene. On the way I saw lots of children
fleeing, being led away by their parents or by some adult. The
first thing that struck me when I got there besides all the chaos
and all the people screaming and streaming all over the place, was
the smell. The first thing that kind of smacks you in the face,
the stench of burning, like meat. And glass everywhere, blood,
body parts, bodies lying on the floor covered with sheets. There
were children's strollers strewn on the ground, stuffed animals
lying on the ground, like rubble, in blood and burned and partially
An anonymous caller to the Arabic Service of Israel Radio claimed
the blast for the militant Palestinian group Hamas, and identified
the suicide bomber as a 24-year-old man from the West Bank town of
Ramallah. The caller said the bombing was a response to Israeli
Prime Minister Shimon Peres' statement Sunday that he was declaring
war on Hamas. But later, another caller said it was a joint
operation of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and warned of more attacks to
Peres convened an emergency Cabinet meeting Monday evening and
announced formation of a new interagency command to coordinate his
anti-terrorism effort. "We have decided to build a special
headquarters to confront this very particular sort of terror, which
is the suicidal terror, I can't promise that overnight everything
will be solved, but I have full confidence in our capacity to
handle the situation."
The new anti-terrorism command will be headed by the chief of
Israel's internal security service, and will include senior army
and police officers. Peres said it will have the authority to act
against terrorist cells wherever they are located. That raises the
possibility that Israel could launch operations in areas under
Palestinian control for the first time since the autonomy process
began two years ago. Late Monday, the Israeli police were ordered
to close all institutions related to Hamas in Jerusalem, which
would include a variety of social service organizations.
Meanwhile, angry demonstrators gathered outside the Defense
Ministry in Tel Aviv, where the Cabinet met, to demand action.
Israeli opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu called for unity, and
said the terrorists should understand they will not defeat Israel.
And in Gaza, the Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, said Monday's
bombing strengthens his determination to work with Israel to fight
Monday's bombing was the fifth attack in Israel in the last nine
days, leaving more than 50 people dead, all claimed by Hamas. It
came in spite of heightened security measures already put in place
after the previous attacks.
Clinton Denounces Tel Aviv Bombing
By David Borgida (VOA-Taylor, Mich.)
President Clinton has denounced terrorism sponsored by the militant
Islamic group Hamas, as his Middle East advisers review US policy
options following the wave of violent attacks in Israel. The
president returned to Washington last night after a day-long
political trip to Michigan, where he denounced what he called the
hysterical, determined, fanatic attempt to derail the peace
In the first of two political speeches, he called the terrorists,
"enemies of peace."
"They live for division and conflict, and I ask all of you my
fellow Americans to send a message to Israel -- if you fight for
peace, we will stand with you!"
His Middle East advisers met at the White House to discuss the
peace process and the latest wave of terrorism. Secretary of State
Warren Christopher and National Security Adviser Anthony Lake were
among the participants. The president was expected to be briefed on
Ironically, the Michigan trip had first been planned for last
November, but it was postponed because of the assassination of
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
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