West Bank slaying sparks political heat in elections

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The attack "is yet more evidence of Peres' utter failure when he counts on [Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat to guarantee safety for Israelis," Likud said in a statement.

Settler leaders reacted to the shooting by demanding more stringent anti-terrorist measures.

The attack is slated for discussion at a special Knesset session to be held next week.

The Israeli media reported Tuesday that Palestinian police had arrested 20 suspects in the West Bank town of Nablus in connection with Monday's attack.

Minutes before firing Monday on the hitchhiking station, terrorists traveling in a silver Subaru or Mitsubishi opened fire on a bus traveling on the Jerusalem-Ramallah road, witnesses said.

No one inside was struck because the bus, like many Israeli vehicles in the territories, was bulletproof.

Two passengers were lightly injured when the bus driver slammed on the brakes after the shooting.

One of the injured passengers, a woman, gave birth hours later.

The car carrying the terrorists continued north, opening fire on the hitchhiking stand and wounding Boim and fellow yeshiva student Yair Greenbaum, 17.

Boim later died of head wounds.

The terrorists continued driving northward, but their car flipped over as they fled the scene.

They fled in a second vehicle.

Israeli security forces exploded the abandoned car, fearing that it was booby-trapped, and searched for the attackers.

Israel Defense Force investigators criticized the judgment of an army medic who arrived at the scene of the attack.

The investigators contended that he should have pursued the terrorists before treating the victims.