VATICAN CITY, JUNE 5, 2002 (Zenit.org).- L´Osservatore Romano strongly condemned the suicide car bomb attack in northern Israel that killed 17 people and wounded almost 40 this morning.
“The enemies of peace once again carry out the killing of civilians in Israel,” reads the Page 1 headline in Thursday´s edition of the semiofficial Vatican newspaper.
“Precisely, while international diplomacy is engaged in the difficult attempt to relaunch the negotiations, extremist Muslim groups strike the population indiscriminately,” the article adds.
“As has happened for years with tragic regularity, armed fundamentalists once again use violence to halt the negotiations. The enemies of peace see their worst enemy precisely in the dialogue, the only thing that can defeat them definitively,” L´Osservatore Romano concludes.
The attack took place at rush hour, near the Meggido Junction, when an explosives-laden car pulled alongside a crowded bus and blew up, killing numerous passengers, including soldiers returning to their military bases.
According to Dov Lutzky, the district´s chief of police, one or two suicide-attackers are among the dead.
The attack took place in a sector under Palestinian control, near the West Bank city of Jenin, where three weeks ago there was another suicide attack against a bus, as the latter´s route passed through several Arab and Israeli villages.
Ramadan Shalah, leader of the Palestinian fundamentalist group Islamic Jihad, confirmed the responsibility of the military wing of his organization, the Jerusalem Brigades, in the attack, in statements made by telephone from Damascus to Qatar´s satellite television channel Al Yasira.
“This heroic operation has been carried out coinciding with the anniversary of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza,” Shalah said, alluding to the occupation by Israeli troops of those Palestinian territories 35 years ago today.