Suicide bombers kill 23 in Tel Aviv

06 January 2003
A double suicide bombing killed at least 23 Israelis in Tel Aviv on 5 January, the most deadly attack since March last year and the first suicide attack inside Israel since November. A further 100 people were wounded, as the two bombs exploded within minutes of each other in a southern district of the city, populated mainly by foreign workers. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility for the attack.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, David Baker, told reporters that Israel 'will fight [Palestinian terrorism] with a fury,' and Israeli helicopter gunships fired rockets into Gaza City, hitting factories alleged to be involved in the production of weapons. An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said in an interview with the BBC on 6 January that the government was considering preventing Palestinian officials from travelling to London for a conference on reform of the Palestinian Authority (PA), called by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair for 14 January. However, Sharon is also under pressure from the US to moderate his response to the suicide attack, in order not to distract attention from Washington's policy towards Iraq.

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