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W. Bank blast kills 3, Israel continues Gaza strikes
12/29/2005 3:00:00 PM GMT



Israeli soldiers examine the scene of an explosion close to acheckpoint near Tulkarm

A Human bomber blew himself up at an Israeli checkpoint in the occupied West Bank, killing one soldier and two Palestinians, BBC reported. 
One witness, who shared the same taxi as the attacker, said that the bomber blew himself up when Israeli troops ordered him to get off the vehicle at a temporary checkpoint near the northern town of Tulkarm.

"The man got out slowly, closed his jacket and blew himself up," Nafez Shahin, 48, told Reuters.

The blast reportedly killed one Israeli soldier and two Palestinian civilians. Three Israeli troops and six Palestinians were injured.

The Israeli army said it established the roadblock after receiving information that an attack was being planned.

Nobody claimed responsibility for the attack, but Israeli officials alleged that the Islamic Jihad was involved.

Deputy Palestinian Prime Minister Nabil Shaath denounced the bombing, and said that it was a particular tragedy that Palestinians had been killed. "We want such operations stopped," he said.

  • Gaza bombardment

The attack came as Israeli occupation forces continued their attacks on the northern Gaza Strip, two days after the army declared a “no-go zone” in the area.

The military announced today that it would continue the shelling and air strikes on Gaza for as long as it took.

"Our aircraft attacked six roads in the north of the Gaza Strip leading to sites from where it is possible to launch Qassam rockets against Israel, and our artillery batteries fired about 30 shells at the sector,“ an Israeli army spokeswoman told AFP

Israel claims that the "no-go zone" is aimed at stopping Palestinian rocket attacks.

Palestinians denounce the buffer zone as a re-occupation of land evacuated by Israel, and vowed that Palestinian police would remain deployed in the area despite Israeli demands that they leave.

"The Israeli determination to implement this plan will widen the cycle of the conflict and will not achieve the goals which Israeli occupation forces seek to achieve," the Palestinian Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Israel withdrew its settlers and forces from the Gaza Strip in September, ending 37 years of military occupation, but the strip’s coastline and airspace, as well as its borders with Israel, remain under Israeli control.

The Israeli army has stepped up its military operations in the West Bank since the Islamic Jihad resistance movement claimed responsibility for a bomb attack in the coastal city of Netanya earlier this month.

Political analysts say that the buffer zone is a political move by Israeli Prime Minister ARIEL SHARON, who is battling to win a third term against rightist opponents who opposed his GAZA WITHDRAWAL plan and accused him of using a soft-handed  approach towards the Palestinians.

Another cycle of violence would also be politically damaging for Palestinian President MAHMOUD ABBAS who is struggling to instill order ahead of a January legislative election in which Fatah faces a challenge from HAMAS.

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