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Israel Targets Islamic Jihad Militants

27 October 2005

Israeli air strikes killed a senior Islamic Jihad militant in a Gaza refugee camp late Thursday. The attack followed the arrest of another Islamic Jihad representative in the West Bank earlier in the day.  The Israeli actions come one day after an Islamic Jihad suicide bomber killed five Israelis.

Witnesses at the Jebaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip say Israeli warplanes fired missiles at a car, killing at least five people, including a senior Islamic Jihad militant.

A number of bystanders were also wounded in the attack.

Earlier, Israeli troops entered the town of Jenin in the West Bank, to arrest a local leader of Islamic Jihad, the group that claimed responsibility for Wednesday's suicide bombing in the Israeli city of Hadera. 

Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, vowed on Thursday to wage a continuous war against the militants.

Mr. Sharon says he believes that, unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority has not taken serious steps to combat terrorism.

The Israeli prime minister says he has also ruled out talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas until Mr. Abbas takes serious action against armed groups.  Mr. Abbas has condemned the suicide attack, but says Israeli incursions into Palestinian territory undermine his authority.  

A statement from chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Thursday condemned the Israeli actions, calling them ominous assaults on the cause of peace.  An unofficial ceasefire between Palestinian factions and Israel has been in effect for most of this year.

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