Israel presses for action against Islamic Jihad

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jerusalem (jps) | As Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, the Al-Quds Battalions, claimed responsibility for this week’s suicide bombing in Netanya, Israeli authorities placed new emphasis on targeting the Palestinian terror organization.

Islamic Jihad has been responsible for many of the most recent terror attacks, and, unlike Hamas, Islamic Jihad is not bound by the “calming” agreement to refrain from terror attacks against Israeli civilian targets.

The bomber was identified as 18-year-old Ahmed Abu Halil from a village near Tulkarm, one of the West Bank cities which was recently handed over to the Palestinian Authority.

Because the claim for the attack came from a smaller, local wing of the Islamic Jihad, there was some suspicion that it emanated from a local initiative rather than a direction from the top.

Just last week, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met with the leader of Islamic Jihad during Abbas’ visit to Damascus.

At least four people were killed and 37 people were wounded when the bomb exploded at an intersection near the Sharon Mall in Netanya around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 12.

Sources close to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that Israel would react with a heavy hand if the authority does not deal with Islamic Jihad terrorists.