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Wednesday, 23 January, 2002, 06:02 GMT
US puts pressure on Arafat
A fleet of ambulances was quickly on the scene
The United States is putting renewed pressure on the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, to stop attacks by militants, after a gunman went on the rampage in Jerusalem.

Two women, who were among the more than 20 people injured in Tuesday's attack, have now died of their wounds in hospital and two other people are said to be in a serious condition.

There's no justification for these kinds of attack

Richard Boucher
State Department spokesman
The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, a group linked to Mr Arafat's Fatah faction, said the gunman, who opened fire with an automatic weapon in west Jerusalem, belonged to its organisation.

A State Department spokesman in Washington said the US was once again calling on Mr Arafat to take immediate and effective steps to end the attacks and bring those responsible to justice.

"There's no justification for these kinds of attacks. They only kill innocent people," spokesman Richard Boucher said.

The shooting happened in Jaffa Street, near a popular shopping mall which was the scene of a suicide bombing in December 2001.

Police say the gunman fired on people at a bus stop and other passers-by for about 10 minutes before being shot dead.

The streets of the city were crowded with people returning home from work.

Jerusalem police chief Mickey Levy said: "The terrorist tried to run away, but after a short chase, police succeeded in hitting him and killed him."

The Israeli Government has blamed the Palestinian Authority for the attack.

"We hold responsible the terrorist organisations Islamic Jihad, Hamas and the Tanzim, which commit in turns these atrocities, and the Palestinian Authority which does nothing to stop them," said spokesman Avi Pazner.

Injured woman
Some of the injured are seriously ill in hospital
The latest attack was "a continuation of the terrorist campaign against Israeli civilians, women and children, committed by terrorist organisations with the passive or active encouragement of the Palestinian Authority", he added.

The shooting occurred shortly after the militant Islamic group Hamas declared that it would be waging all-out war on Israel.

The group issued its statement following an incursion by Israeli forces into the Palestinian-run West Bank city of Nablus, in which four Hamas members were killed.

"This massacre opens the door wide open for a fierce war, which will reach the Zionist gangs everywhere, and with all means," it said.

After the Israeli raid on Nablus, thousands of demonstrators surrounded a Palestinian police station in the town and forced the release of a militant - the brother of one of those killed in the raid.

At one point, Palestinian police opened fire on the crowd.

The BBC's Rachel Harvey
"Peace seems a distant prospect"
Raanan Gissin, Senior Adviser to Ariel Sharon
"Yasser Arafat... has deliberately decided to escalate the situation"
Saeb Erekat, Chief Palestinian negotiator
"Their line is just a broken record deflecting the blame from Sharon's policy"
Editor of Jerusalem Report David Horovitz
"There is no willingness on the Israeli side"
See also:

22 Jan 02 | Middle East
Militant released after Israeli raid
21 Jan 02 | Middle East
Mid-East religions condemn bloodshed
02 Dec 01 | Middle East
Death toll climbs in Jerusalem attacks
03 Dec 01 | profiles
Who are Hamas?
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