Israel and Palestine: onfrontation

Palestinians expressed amazement yesterday at the rashness of Hamas terrorists who were bombed by the Israelis as they paraded on a football field. At least 14 died and many more were wounded as they drilled at midnight. Aircraft and helicopters fired six missiles at members of the Izzedine al Qassem brigades, the armed wing of the movement. The killings were retribution for the murder of 16 Israelis in a double bus bombing in the southern town of Beersheba last week. Yesterday, youths gathered at the sandy field in Shejaia, Gaza City, and said they were stunned that the militants had paraded in an open space where retaliation was guaranteed. "It was a stupid mistake," said Amin Khalid, 25. "They should have taken precautions. The Israelis had announced they would have their revenge", reports the Telegraph. According to Haaretz, the United States yesterday criticized Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia for reportedly saying that any retaliation for Israel's air strike will be justified. U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that such comments were "unacceptable" to the U.S. administration, and that nothing can justify terror attacks. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell disapproved of the Israeli attack on the Hamas training camp, saying "retaliation is not a solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "I don't think they are very helpful. The situation is very tragic." Powell said. But he called on Palestinian leaders to respond with measures designed to improve security and said the way out of the conflict is to implement the road map for peacemaking, proposed jointly by the Quartet (the U.S., UN, EU and Russia). Unfortunately, Powell said at a Washington news conference, Palestinian leaders have not taken control of all Palestinian security groups to crack down on violence.

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