Newsletter : 7fax0731.txt
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>JN July 31, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 139
14 Dead, 150 Wounded in Hamas Jerusalem Attack
By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)
The military wing of the militant Islamic group Hamas has claimed
responsibility for Wednesday's suicide bombings in Jerusalem that
killed 14 and wounded 150 others. Palestinian Authority President
Yasir Arafat has already ordered the arrest of members of militant
A leaflet passed on to news agencies states that the Al Qassem
brigade of Hamas carried out what is referred to as martyrdom
operations. At mid-day, two suicide bombers blew themselves up in
the center of Jerusalem's outdoor market. Police say they found
their dismembered bodies among the dead at the scene. They believe
the bombers were disguised as Israelis and carried the explosives
in bags. The Hamas leaflet demands that Israel free all Palestinian
The bombings led to the postponement of a new initiative by US
Middle East envoy Dennis Ross. Ross had planned to hold talks with
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Arafat on ways to revive the
stalled peace process.
Palestinian officials condemned the bombings, and Arafat telephoned
Netanyahu to express his condolences, Netanyahu said condolences
from Arafat are not enough, that Israeli expects the Palestinian
Authority to crack down on people responsible for bombings.
"We have said time and time again that the Palestinian Authority
has failed to keep its commitments to fight terrorists, has failed
to keep its commitment to stop the incitement towards violence, has
failed to keep its commitment to cooperate with us, security
cooperation that can stop this terrorism, instead we see that 150
members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad were set free, like savage
animals to commit these barbarous acts."
Netanyahu said the terrorists must be jailed and their weapons and
explosives confiscated. Arafat later ordered the arrests of
(members of) militant Muslim groups, including Hamas and the
Terror Warnings & High Alert
By IINS News Service
Jerusalem police and other security forces are on high alert in
anticipation of additional attempts at carrying out terrorist
attacks in Jerusalem in the coming days.
Security officials report that intelligence information indicates
terrorists plan to carry out additional attacks. Large numbers of
police reinforcements are being deployed throughout the capital,
concentrating on sensitive areas.
Police have called upon all Israelis to be on increased alertness
and to report anything suspicious to police immediately. Police
have asked citizens to pay special attention to suspicious
Clinton Denies Ignoring Peace Process
By David Gollust (VOA-White House)
In the wake of the Jerusalem bombing, the Clinton administration is
denying suggestions it has been ignoring the Israeli-Palestinian
peace process. A visit to the region by US envoy Dennis Ross,
postponed by the terror attack, will be rescheduled soon.
Administration officials say the terror attack may have been staged
because of the very fact that Israeli-Palestinian talks are
beginning to move forward again. And they say that after an
appropriate period of mourning for the bombing victims, Ross will
go to the region with new US ideas for accelerating negotiations.
The blast at the open-air market in Jerusalem came two days after
Israeli and Palestinian officials announced a partial resumption
of their peace dialogue after four months of stalemate.
After a briefing from national security aides, Clinton made a
condolence phone call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Then he appeared in the White House press room to condemn what he
called "an inexcusable, barbarous act."
The president bristled at one reporters' suggestion that he and
Secretary of State Albright have been avoiding the troubled peace
process. "My personal involvement has been continuing and intense.
I know of no example in recent history where peace is made by
third-parties trying to be helpful making public statements alone.
I believe the way I'm doing this is the most effective way. But you
should not conclude for a moment that the White House has not been
intimately and intensely and continuously involved in this peace
process, particularly as it has gotten more difficult."
The president said the bombing was aimed not only at innocent
Israelis, but also the majority among Israelis, Palestinians and
Arabs who want a lasting and just peace.
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