State paper backs Tel Aviv bombing

Daily Star Egypt Staff
4 Min Read

CAIRO: A state-owned Egyptian newspaper said on Tuesday that a suicide bombing which killed nine people in Tel Aviv was a response to Israeli attacks on Palestinians, and Palestinians should not abandon the struggle against Israel. But another state newspaper said the bombing on Monday, claimed by the militant group Islamic Jihad, should be condemned as terrorism because it targeted civilians. The bombing damaged Palestinian interests, added the newspaper Al Ahram. An editorial in the first paper, Al-Gomhuria, said The Palestinian people are not required to raise their hands in surrender and accept gratefully daily Israeli attacks which kill Palestinians … and watch with delight as hosts of settlers roam their land. The Palestinian people are not required to applaud Israel and its allies as they mobilize the world far and wide to besiege a steadfast people struggling for its rights, it added. The brief editorial, entitled Al-Gomhuria says , criticized the U.S. and Israeli campaign to isolate Hamas after it won elections in January and took over the Palestinian cabinet. The Palestinian people are not required … to turn the page of struggle and stop the march of battle before achieving their goals, it added. That s why the guerrilla martyrdom operation in the heart of Tel Aviv yesterday took place, and all subsequent operations, the editorial said. It is rare for Egyptian state media to give such forceful support to Palestinian militancy against Israel, and in particular to a suicide bombing. The headline in Al Ahram called the bombing a guerrilla operation, using the positive Arabic word fida i, but the editorial said the bombing gave Israel a pretext for the use of force and that violence did not serve the interests of either side. The Egyptian government, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979 and has pressed militant Palestinian factions to stop attacks on Israeli civilians, made no immediate comment on the bombing.

A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Cairo declined to comment on the editorial because he had not yet read it. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack, in which a man detonated a bag containing 4.5 kilograms of explosives in a felafel restaurant near Tel Aviv s central bus station. The restaurant was packed with Israelis on vacation during the Passover holiday.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and numerous Western governments denounced the attack, but the Hamas government defended it as a legitimate response to Israeli aggression.

The Islamic Jihad militant group, a rival of Hamas, claimed responsibility for the bombing. Its members celebrated the attack by handing out pastries in the streets of Gaza.

The attack occurred two hours before Israel s newly elected parliament was sworn into office. Prime Minister-designate Ehud Olmert said Israel would react appropriately to the bombing.

Israel said it held Hamas responsible for the attack, even though Islamic Jihad had claimed responsibility. Agencies

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