Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered all defense structures to find and destroy leaders and activists of the Palestinian terrorist group Islamic Jihad
Israeli helicopters performed a series of missile attacks on Gaza Strip targets. Three missiles were fired on arms depots of Palestinian extremists and on the cemetery, from the territory of which guerrillas periodically attacked Jewish settlements. Palestinian extremists killed a 20-year-old Israeli woman as a result of their recent attack: the woman's death virtually became the reason of yesterday's retaliation. It is obvious nowadays that the informal truce in the Middle East has been broken.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered all defense structures to find and destroy leaders and activists of the Palestinian terrorist group Islamic Jihad. It was Islamic Jihad, the terrorists of which claimed responsibility for the previous terrorist act. The terrorists thus confirmed that they were not going to adhere to the informal cease-fire agreement, which Palestinian and Israeli government achieved. Ariel Sharon apparently did not hesitate to follow the traditional rules of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: to use violence in return to violence.
The truce-breaking terrorists act in Netania killed five people and injured dozens, when a suicide terrorist blew up his bomb near the trade center entrance. The Israeli army reacted to Islamic Jihad's attack immediately. Palestinian territories, including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, were blocked. The troops entered Tulkarm, which is considered the headquarters of Islamic Jihad, on Wednesday. A skirmish occurred between Israeli military men and the Palestinian police, when the latter did not let Israeli soldiers search the houses in the town. Two Israeli servicemen were injured and one Palestinian policeman were killed in the battle.
The operation to arrest activists of radical Palestinian groups was resumed on Thursday. Mohammed Alasi, one of the leaders of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, was killed during the special operation in the town of Nablus, the West Bank of Jordan. It is noteworthy that the terrorist was hiding in the house of a British journalist, Ann Higgins, who holds a dual citizenship of the USA and Great Britain. Alasi was listed as one of the most dangerous terrorists wanted by the Israeli special services. The extremist organized several terrorist acts on the territory of Israel.
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade responded to the killing of their leader instantly. The guerrillas attacked the settlement of Nativ-ha-Asara, in Israel's south, on Thursday morning. Several self-made missiles blew up in residential areas. One of the shells hit a car, in which a 20-year-old Israeli woman was sitting. Israeli helicopters were bombing the Gaza Strip several hours later. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas arrived to the embattled region.
Spokesmen for the Palestinian administration said that Abbas was trying to convince Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders of the need to maintain the armistice. The talks yielded no results. Blood will most likely continue shedding in Palestine. Terrorists of radical organizations will not leave Israel-run raids unpunished. One may infer that the glimmer of hope for peace in the Middle East, which appeared after Mahmoud Abbas came to power, has been cleared away.
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