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Thursday, 15 March, 2001, 15:31 GMT
Killer bus driver unrepentant
Scene of carnage at bus stop
Soldiers and civilians were scattered in the attack
A Palestinian bus driver has said that he has no regrets about killing eight Israelis by ploughing into a bus stop near Tel Aviv last month.

Khalil Abu Olbeh was charged on Thursday at a court in the city with the murders of the seven soldiers and one civilian, and the wounding of 20 others.


I am not sorry - you are every day killing Palestinians

Khalil Abu Olbeh
He said he had aimed to avenge the deaths of more than 300 Palestinians who have died since the uprising against Israel began last September.

Several militant groups have said that they were behind the 14 February attack, which was the deadliest single incident in Israel since the Palestinians began their uprising.

But Abu Olbeh's family has denied that he had any links to Islamic militants.

The defendant appeared in court in a wheelchair - he was seriously injured in a high speed car chase which followed the incident.

Khalil Abu Olbeh
Abu Olbeh was injured during a high-speed chase
"I am not sorry," he told reporters at the court.

"You are every day killing Palestinians," he added.

A resident of Gaza, Abu Olbeh was employed by the Israeli Egged bus company to drive Palestinian workers to their jobs in Israel.

He had been given clearance by the Israeli security service two weeks before the attack.

Some 30 soldiers and civilians were queuing at the Azur junction when his red and white bus careered off the road and ploughed into them. Many of the victims were literally torn apart.

Israel announced a land, sea and air blockade of the Palestinian territories in response to the attack.

About 440 people have been killed in violence over the last few months, 65 of them Israeli Jews.

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See also:

15 Mar 01 | Middle East
Sharon signal to ease blockades
14 Feb 01 | Middle East
Analysis: Israel's security crisis
14 Feb 01 | Middle East
US condemns Israel bus attack
14 Feb 01 | Middle East
In pictures: Israeli bus attack
14 Feb 01 | Middle East
Eyewitness: Bus stop horror
15 Feb 01 | Middle East
Mystery of bus attack motive
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