Hamas Claims Responsibility for Jerusalem Explosions

  • Share
  • Read Later

JERUSALEM: Hamas is claiming responsibility for the worst terrorist attack since Benjamin Netanyahu became Prime Minister. At 1:18 PM local time, a pair of bombs tore through a busy outdoor produce market in Jerusalem, killing 14 people, two of them believed to be Palestinian suicide bombers, and wounding 150 others. Police and soldiers immediately surrounded the market, ordering stores closed while they searched for more bombs. The attack came just one day before U.S. envoy Dennis Ross was scheduled to return to Israel in yet another effort to move peace talks forward. President Clinton announced that he would postpone the trip until an appropriate time for mourning had passed. "It seems that here, there can be either peace or quiet, but not both," notes TIME Jerusalem bureau chief Lisa Beyer. "As long as the peace train is stuck, the Islamists lie low, their task of sabotaging the process a redundancy. Once things move, here they come again, determined to wreck it once again." Beyer notes that while the Israelis are blaming Yasser Arafat for not controlling terrorism, Hamas is independent of the Palestinian leader: "The last time there was a suicide bombing, it turned out that the bombers came from an area of the West Bank controlled by the Israelis. In fact, Hamas has a policy of not operating strikes from territory controlled by Arafat."