Israel Resource Review 29th January, 2007


Suicide bomb attack in Israeli city of Eilat kills three; Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad praise the "resistance"
Ma'an [Palestinian news agency]

Bethlehem - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli security sources have confirmed that an explosion has occurred in the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat.

The sources said that the explosion was in one of the bakeries in the city and resulted in the killing of three Israelis and the injuring of many others.

Breaking news in the Israeli media said that the explosion was in a bakery in the city centre.

Israeli radio said that sappers are investigating the explosion, which seems to have been carried out by a suicide bomber. The Israeli police and ambulances rushed to the scene to evacuate the casualties.

Three separate Palestinian movements have claimed the attack: Islamic Jihad, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, who are the main military wing of Fatah, and the previously unknown 'Army of Believers'.

Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah have all since issued statements attesting the right of the Palestinians to resist occupation.

The statements called on all Palestinians to act united, forget their differences and face the Israel occupation.

Islamic Jihad, one of the groups who claimed responsibility for the attack, called on the factions to do their utmost to escalate the resistance instead of fighting each other. Their statement read, "This operation, which was carried out by the heroes of the resistance in Um Ar-Rashrash [the Palestinians' Arabic name for Eilat] in the lands of 1948, is coming as an initiative of a different kind to wake up the consciences and to re-aim the rifles against the enemy ".

The Hamas movement said that the operation was "a natural response to the Israeli aggressions". Hamas spokesman, Muhammad Aziz, said that resistance is a legitimate right of the Palestinians.

Abu Qusay, the spokesman of the Al-Aqsa Brigades, said that his brigades salute the operation and affirmed that it was a natural reaction for the Israeli aggression.

The Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, has also claimed that the perpetrator of the attack entered Eilat from Jordan. It was also reported that the attacker was named as Muhammad Siksik, 21, from Shaja'iyyah in northern Gaza.

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David Bedein

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, addressed a preplanned meeting of his Kadima faction of the Israeli Knesset parliament only two hours after the terror attack in Israel's port city of Eilat. His described the timing of the attack as "taking place during a period of relative calm" with Israeli's Palestinian adversaries, despite the fact that Israel's southern region had suffered at least ninety missile attacks since Israel's self imposed cease fire and declaration of a policy of restraint that the Jewish state declared on November 26th, 2006.

The names of all three victims of the Palestinian terror attack in an Eilat bakery were released for publication on Monday night.

The two owners of the bakery, Amil Elimelech, 32, and Michael Ben Sa'adon, 27 were killed in the attack as well as one of their employees, Israel Samolia, 26.

Elimelech was married with two children while Ben Sa'adon was married with one child.

Samolia was an immigrant from Peru. His family, currently residing in Miami, was notified of his death by the Israeli consul in Miami, Dr. Yitzhak Ben Gad.

This time, the United States government did not single out a particular Palestinian terror group for responsibility in the attack. For the first time in recent memory, the US held the entire Palestinian Authority government responsible, primarily because the Palestinians loyal to Machmud Abbas, the chairman of the Palestinian Authority and the head of the Fateh organization, took credit for the murders in Eilat. Indeed, the official Monday evening television newscast of the PBC, the Palestinian Broadcast Corporation, owned and operated by the Palestinian Authority, announced that the Fateh shared credit for the attack – even though the official Israeli government TV Channel One newscast announced that these were "graduates" of the Fateh -hinting that Abbas could not have been responsible for the attack.

Generally, the Israeli media only reported the Palestinian condemnation of the attack that was conveyed in Hebrew to the Israeli media, not the praise of the attack which emanated from the official Arabic language sources of the Palestinian Authority.

Both Egypt and Jordan issued conditional condemnation of the Eilat, with both nations stressing that they hoped that Israel would not see this attack as a reason for a military response.

On the other hand, the following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

"The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest possible terms today's suicide bombing at a bakery in Eilat, Israel, which killed three people and wounded another. Such acts of terrorism are a violation of international humanitarian law and can never be justified"

Four hours following the attack in Eilat, Abbas met made a public address in Ethiopia, acting as if the attack had not taken place.

Addressing the Eighth Conference of the African Union in Addis Ababa, WAFA, the PLO news agency, reported that " President Abbas called for the quick implementation of the Road Map, asserting that decades of conflict proved to be infertile. 'The real alternative to conflicts is Israel's recognition of the Palestinian rights',…He [Abbas ] pointed out that the Palestinian people are the last people on the earth suffering from occupation, saying Palestine is threatened by the Israeli settlement expansion. President Abbas stressed that continuation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine endangers the stability and security of the region. President Abbas stressed that continuation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine endangers the stability and security of the region".

Indeed, Palestinian maps continue to define Israel's southern port city of Elat as an "illegal Israeli settlement" despite the fact that Elat is not located in Judea, Samaria or Gaza. However, since Eilat was not on the area allotted to Israel by the UN partition plan by UN resolution #181 in 1947 and since Eliat was taken by the Israeli army during the 1948 war, it is defined by the Palestinians as "occupied territory". Since most Israelis have never seen the new maps produced by the Palestinian Authority, hardly any Israeli would know that the Palestinian Authority lays claim to Eilat.

The mother of the Eilat bomber, a resident of the UNRWA camp of Jabalya in Gaza, was featured by the Ma'an Palestinian news agency.

As Ma'an reporteds: " The departure of her son came only three days before the reports of his death, after detonating explosives strapped to himself in an operation in Eilat. Following three days of searching for her missing son, she heard the news on Monday morning that he had blown himself up in an unprecedented operation in the southern Israeli resort of Eilat.

The mother, Umm Na'im, said, "On Friday at 8:00 a.m., my son Muhammad left home and never came back and never called us. It was only once that he answered his brother's call and asked him not to call again." From that moment his mobile was always out of service.

She added that she is ready to sacrifice all of her nine sons and daughters for Palestine and Al-Aqsa mosque, yet she hoped that Palestinian politicians "won't waste the "martyrs' blood" in their rivalries".

Muhammad's brother, Na'im, 26, said: "What my brother has done is dignifying for all of us. He always wished the inter-Palestinian fighting will end, and the rifles of the resistance return back to their right direction; the Israeli occupation. I knew my brother was a member of Islamic Jihad's military wing [al Quds Brigades] and participated in every blockade of the Israeli invasions to the Gaza Strip."

Nadia Siksik, wife of the deceased bomber, expressed pride over her husband's operation. She said, "When he bid us farewell, we were very happy and he left an impression that he was very spontaneous. I didn't feel he wasn't coming back when he left on Friday. But now, after what he has done for Palestine, I am proud. Why shouldn't I be? My husband was martyred and did not fall as a victim of the Hamas-Fatah fighting."

The bomber's little sister, Dalia, 13, burst into tears while she expressed her pride over her brother, "who refused to be a victim of the clash of brothers".

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