RealNews

Islamic Jihad Claims Blast Responsibility

Militants from the radical Palestinian group Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for a bombing in central Israel that killed a 65-year-old woman, apparently violating last week’s cease-fire pledge. But Israel’s foreign minister said his country was still committed to the truce. And the claim was shrouded in some uncertainty: it was not clear whether Monday night’s attack was carried out by a splinter group or whether it had received authorization from Islamic Jihad’s leaders in advance. Meanwhile, momentum appeared to be building toward a visit by Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas to the Israeli Knesset, where he would lobby for a broader release of Palestinian prisoners – addressing an issue that has emerged as a major obstacle to the drive to end 33 months of Mideast violence. A fax to The Associated Press carrying the Islamic Jihad logo threatened more violence if Israel does not agree to a mass release of Palestinian prisoners. “Release the prisoners or the consequences will be grave,” the leaflet warned. The fax identified the bomber as 22-year-old Ahmed Yehyia from the village of Kufr Rai in the northern West Bank. The village is just south of the West Bank town of Jenin, which is known to be a hotbed of radical militants. Full Story

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