At least seven Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli air strike on the car of an Islamic Jihad militant in the Gaza Strip. One of the group’s senior leaders is among the dead.
He is the second prominent Islamic Jihad member to be killed in less than a week as tit-for-tat violence escalates once again in the Middle East. The group killed five Israelis in a suicide bombing in a busy market place in the coastal town of Hadera on Wednesday. It was the first of its kind in two months, throwing the fragile peace process into disarray. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said there could be no advance towards peace for now because of the “absolute failure of the Palestinian Authority in the fight against terrorism.” He warned that “Israel’s action will be broad and will not stop until it brings a cessation of terrorism.” The Palestinian Authority strongly condemned the suicide bombing in Hadera. Washington has urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to do more to rein in militants. Until now, he has opted for talks with armed groups rather than attempting to disarm them by force.