Playground bombing injures 20 Palestinians
Conal Urquhart in Jerusalem
Thursday April 10, 2003
The Guardian (UK)
A bomb, which may have been planted by Jewish
extremists, exploded in a West Bank school playground
yesterday, injuring 20 Palestinian children.
A shadowy Jewish group called Revenge of the Infants
claimed responsibility for the attack at the secondary
school in the village of Jaba'a, south of Jenin.
Lutfi Abu Oun, mayor of Jaba'a, said two of the
teenagers were seriously injured. All the wounded were
taken to hospitals in Jenin and Nablus.
Ismail Salah, the school's headmaster, said the
explosion tore through a classroom for 16-year-old boys
as they returned from a midday recess.
Witnesses said desks and chairs were hurled about by
the blast. Pools of blood and glass shards littered the
Israeli police said they could not confirm the
authenticity of the claim by the group, and added that
the bomb could have been brought to the school by one
of the students, although they had yet to investigate
An Israeli police spokesman, Gil Kleiman, said: "We
have no hard evidence whether this was a true
announcement. We have opened an inquiry and a decision
has to be made whether we can send a bomb squad to
Last year, a bomb planted by the group in an east
Jerusalem school playground injured eight children.
Jewish militants were active in the West Bank until the
early 1980s when the government clamped down on their
Since the start of the current intifada in 2000, acts
of Jewish terrorism have been rare.
In 2001, three members of a Palestinian family,
including a two-month-old boy, were killed when Jewish
militants sprayed a van with bullets in the West Bank.
Witnesses said the killers escaped through an Israeli
The Israeli human rights group, B'tselem, has accused
the Israeli authorities of "tacit consent" in these
attacks by elements believed to operate among Jewish
settlers in the West Bank. The police and army deny the
Elsewhere in the West Bank yesterday, the Palestinian
prime minister-designate, Mahmoud Abbas, delayed naming
his cabinet for two weeks, further postponing the
publication of the "road map", an agenda for peace
sponsored by the US, Russia, the UN and the EU. The
plan sees an independent Palestinian state coexisting
with Israel by 2005.
Yasser Arafat, the chairman of the Palestinian
Authority has objected to the changes Mr Abbas, better
known as Abu Mazen, wants to make.
The main disagreement appears to be over the
appointment of a new interior minister. Mr Abbas would
like to appoint Mohammed Dahlan, who is also backed by
international mediators, while Mr Arafat would like him
to retain Hani al Hassan, an Arafat loyalist.
The Israeli government yesterday defended its
assassination of Said Arbid, a senior Hamas activist in
Gaza City on Tuesday.
Two of Arbid's associates and four onlookers were
killed when an F-16 fighter jet fired a missile at his
car and a helicopter fired a missile at the onlookers
gathered near the wreckage.
Israel's deputy defence minister, Ze'ev Boim, described
the killing as the "the liquidation of a head of the
Hamas retaliated by firing three rockets at the Israeli
town of Sderot, and mortars at several Jewish
settlements in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli forces later raided Beit Hanoun in northern
Gaza to prevent the firing of further rockets at
Sderot. Witnesses said the Israeli tanks and personnel
carriers were attacked with stones when they entered
the town. The tank crews fired back and were believed
to have killed three people, one of them aged 16.
Guardian Unlimited (c) Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003