Police - Israelis may have planted bomb at school

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

HEBRON, West Bank -- Israeli police and Palestinian officials in the West Bank said they believe extremist Jewish settlers planted two bombs in a Palestinian school yard Tuesday. One device exploded, injuring five children.

Yehoshua Mor-Yosef, spokesman for the Jewish Settlers' Council, said the bombing was an "immoral and illegal act."

Israeli military officials said the explosion occurred near a water cooler in the courtyard of the Ziff junction secondary school south of Hebron. The second bomb was found and safely detonated. The Israeli military controls the junction, a remote region populated mainly by Bedouins.

In other developments, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected a petition by the families of two Palestinian suicide bombers to prevent the destruction of their homes by Israeli forces, Army Radio reported. The two bombers carried out a Dec. 1 attack in which 11 Israelis were killed. Relatives denied they knew of the suicide attackers' plans.

Israeli troops entered the Khan Younis refugee camp in Gaza earlier Tuesday and blew up metal workshops where the Israelis say Palestinians were making weapons, the latest in a series of almost nightly raids by Israeli forces in Gaza.

On Tuesday evening, Israeli forces destroyed a house in the Gaza-Egypt border, residents said. The area is the scene of frequent clashes, and Israeli forces often uncover tunnels there used for smuggling weapons into Gaza.

The school yard bomb went off just after recess ended at 9:45 a.m. A 6-year-old boy was among the five injured.

On July 26, Palestinians killed an Israeli couple, their 9-year-old son and a soldier from Hebron in an ambush at the same junction.

Palestinian Cabinet Minister Saeb Erekat said he held the Israeli government responsible for Tuesday's bombing. Israel "failed to bring any of those who kill Palestinians in cold blood to justice," he said.

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