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Wednesday, 31 July, 2002, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Israel to expel militant's relative
Bomb victims at Hebrew University
Soon after the decision Israel was hit by another bomb
The Israeli security cabinet has decided to expel the relative of a West Bank militant to the Gaza Strip, officials say.

The man, who has not been identified, will be given 12 hours to appeal the decision, sources said after the cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

He is reported to be a relative of a militant accused of participating in an attack on an Israeli bus near the West Bank settlement of Emmanuel on 16 July.


We consider every Palestinian expelled from his land the equivalent of a Palestinian killed. If it expels any Palestinian, we will expel several Israelis from life. We will kill them

Abdul Aziz al-Rantissi, Hamas leader
If the expulsion goes ahead it will be the first time the controversial measure has been employed by the Israeli authorities since the start of the intifada in September 2000.

The Israeli Government has drawn strong international criticism over the expulsion plan, which is widely seen as an illegal attempt to collectively punish Palestinians.

Bus attack

The decision to enforce the plan comes as Israel is reeling from a second bomb attack in as many days.

Shortly after the special meeting called to discuss ways of combating terrorist attacks finished, a bomb exploded at Jerusalem's Hebrew University, killing at least seven people and injuring about 70.

The Israeli daily Haaretz said the man facing exile was a relative of a militant who took part in the shooting and bomb attack on an Israeli bus near Emmanuel.

Seven people were killed and 20 injured in the attack.

Eyewitnesses said two or three Palestinians dressed as Israeli soldiers set off a bomb beside a bus at the entrance to the settlement.

Then as passengers escaped from the vehicle, the attackers sprayed them with automatic gunfire, survivors said.

Threat of retaliation

The decision is likely to spark anger amongst Palestinians.

Bus attacked near Emmanuel Jewish settlement, West Bank
Militants bombed the bus and then opened fire

A senior leader of the militant Islamic group Hamas Abdul Aziz al-Rantissi, speaking on Qatar's Al-Jazeera television station, warned that such a move would not go unpunished.

"I say to the Zionists: We consider every Palestinian expelled from his land the equivalent of a Palestinian killed. If it expels any Palestinian, we will expel several Israelis from life. We will kill them," Mr Rantissi said.

And the militant group al-Aqsa Martyrs has said it will attack the families of Israeli officials if expulsions go ahead.

Political sources said that during their four-hour meeting the Israeli cabinet had agreed upon a set of punitive steps to be taken against the relatives of bombers.

As well as possible exile the measures are said to include house demolitions, property expropriation and trials for relatives who knew of planned attacks failed to prevent them.


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22 Jul 02 | Middle East
16 Jul 02 | Middle East
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