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israel raids gaza strip after suicide attack

  1. The test of a competent government is whether its policies work. Unless Israel is actually provoking the Palestinians hoping for a desperate violent reaction, its policies suck and its citizens suffer by it. If you try something once and it has a bad result, then again and it has a bad result, then again and it has a bad result, then again .......

    How many times before you try something else.



    Israel has launched a major incursion into the Gaza Strip.

    It came just hours after a suicide bomb tore apart an Israeli bus in the port city of Haifa, killing at least 15 people and injuring dozens more.

    Up to 50 tanks from the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) have advanced on the Jabaliya refugee camp in an action that has left at least one Palestinian dead and two wounded.

    Palestinians in the camp said the soldiers had surrounded the houses of two Hamas militants killed in earlier attacks on Israelis, and were preparing to demolish them.

    They said there had been fierce resistance, and there were a number of dead and injured.

    The IDF confirmed its troops were carrying out an operation in the Jabaliya camp, and confirmed that three rockets have been fired but would give no further details.

    Meanwhile, in the West Bank Israeli troops have raided a house in the town of Hebron, arresting the father and two brothers of the man believed to have been responsible for the Haifa bombing.


    Suicide attack

    The suicide bombing in Haifa was the first bombing in the Jewish state in two months.

    At least 15 were killed and 30 were wounded, 10 seriously.

    Most of the victims were thought to be students as the bus was ripped to pieces while travelling between a residential area on the city's Carmel heights and Haifa university, public television said.

    Hardline Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad said the blast, which created chaos and carnage in the city, was revenge for a string of bloody raids by the Israeli army into the Gaza Strip in recent weeks.

    But the Palestinian leadership condemned the suicide attack, saying it would divert international sympathy away from the far higher Palestinian civilian death toll.

    "We condemn all attacks against civilians including today's attack in Haifa," said information minister Yasser Abed Rabbo.

    The Palestinian Authority said the attack would serve as "a pretext for Israel's government and occupation army to step up its deadly campaign which caused the deaths of 77 Palestinians in February".

    It was the first bomb attack inside Israel since January 5, and came just days after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon appointed a government that pledged to get tough on security.

    In the January attack, which was claimed by an armed offshoot of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, two Palestinian suicide bombers blew themselves up in central Tel Aviv, killing 23 other people.

    "The explosion occurred inside the bus, and was very powerful. There's almost nothing left of the bus," fire brigade officer Gershon Zoberman said.

    The suicide attack came just two days after Israeli forces staged a bloody raid into a refugee camp in central Gaza targeting a founder member of Hamas, which has spearheaded suicide bombings against the Jewish state whose right to exist it refuses to recognise.

    Hamas vowed to continue its attacks, while the Palestinian Authority accused Israel of trying to disrupt top-level Palestinian meetings to discuss reforms of Mr Arafat's administration.

    No Palestinian faction laid immediate claim to Wednesday's bombing.

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