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Monday, 10 September, 2001, 02:09 GMT 03:09 UK
Eight die as Mid-East attacks escalate
Forensic experts sifting through debris
Naharia station after the bomb
Israeli helicopter gunships have pounded Palestinian targets in retaliation for a series of attacks against Israeli civilians.

Missiles were fired at Palestinian Authority buildings in Ramallah, Jericho and near Jenin in the West Bank.

Earlier five Israelis and three Palestinian activists were killed in two explosions, a drive-by shooting and an attempted bombing.


We believe they [the Palestinian Authority] can do more and they really need to do more

Condoleezza Rice

US national security adviser Condoleezza Rice condemned the bloodshed as "senseless" and said the Palestinians should do more to reduce the violence.

The deadliest attack was in the northern coastal town of Naharia. Three Israelis were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the train station.

At least 10 people were reported injured by the bomb.

Israeli Arab

Soldiers often gather at the station before returning to their bases after the weekend.

Israeli officials later named the suspected bomber as Muhammad Saker Habashi, 48, from a village near Naharia. His Israeli identity card was found next to the bomber's remains. It could make him the first Israeli Arab to carry out a suicide attack inside Israel.

Click here for map of how the day's violence unfolded

A second suicide bomber later exploded his device near a bus at the busy Beit Lid intersection, near the central town of Netanya. The bomber died and three people were injured.

The latest violence broke out as Israel's security cabinet met to discuss measures to stop militants getting into Israel.

Blame

The Israeli Government accused the Palestinian Authority of doing nothing to stop suicide bombers.

Vehicle carrying the teachers
The vehicle after the drive-by shooting

But the BBC's Barbara Plett in Jerusalem says the government did not block plans to resume ceasefire talks.

The PA rejected the Israeli allegations and issued a statement condemning all attacks on civilians and the subsequent missile strikes.

Hours earlier, two Israelis were killed and three injured in a drive-by shooting in the West Bank.

A car with a Palestinian number plate overtook a minibus transporting teachers to settlers' schools in the Jordan Valley and opened fire.

The bus driver and a teacher died in the attack, police said.

The militant group Islamic Jihad said it carried out the attack.

Separately, a Palestinian was killed and another injured in the Gaza Strip by Israeli soldiers, Palestinian security forces said.

Recent bomb blasts
9/8/2001: 15 killed in Jerusalem restaurant suicide bombing
2/6/2001: 21 dead and 60 injured in Tel Aviv disco attact
2/11/2000: Car bomb kills 2 in Jerusalem market

The militant Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine told Reuters news agency the men belonged to their group and were on a mission to strike inside Israel.

Correspondents say the latest violence will play into the hands of members of the Israeli cabinet supporting more stringent security measures around the West Bank.

Ministers discussed the situation on Sunday but they are reported to have rejected an army request to declare a series of West Bank enclaves as closed military zones.

Palestinians say such zones would make their lives intolerable.

Talks in doubt

The upsurge in violence casts doubt over possible talks between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.

The two had been expected to meet soon to try to get a ceasefire back on course.

Speaking of Saturday's helicopter attack, Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said it would "destroy the aims of this meeting before it's even held".

Return to text
 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Barbara Plett
"The question now is whether to pursue ceasefire talks"
The BBC's Caroline Hawley in Jerusalem
"There's not much trust left in any kind of political process"
Palestinian spokesman Mustafa Barghouti
"The main problem of this country is the Israeli occupation"
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Gideon Meir
"The only way to come to any solution is through diplomatic negotiation"
See also:

09 Sep 01 | Middle East
In pictures: Mid-East bloodshed
08 Sep 01 | Middle East
Israel rockets Fatah building
29 Mar 01 | Middle East
Who are the suicide bombers?
09 Sep 01 | Middle East
Palestinian minister held
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