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Israel tells Palestinians to "wipe out" militants

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Israel tells Palestinians to "wipe out" militants


It is the news many of those keen to see peace between Israel and the Palestinians had been dreading but expecting.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has put the budding peace process on hold after Friday’s deadly nightclub bombing. He told his cabinet there would be no diplomatic progress until the Palestinians wiped out their militant groups. If action was not taken, he added, Israel would have step up its military activities. Sharon said orders to carry out the attack, which claimed the lives of four people and injured dozens more, came from Islamic Jihad leaders in Syria. The militant group claimed the suicide bombing yesterday, although its Gaza leadership denied it. Damascus has said it had nothing to do with the killings. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has strongly condemned the bombing. He has been trying to coax Palestinian militants into a formal ceasefire but Sharon said he must now start to arrest and disarm them rather than pursue talks. Security is tight across Jerusalem after the attack – the first since November. While many thought they had put such scenes of death and chaos behind them, it has been a deadly reminder of the fragility of the peace process.
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