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February 26, 2005
Islamic Jihad Claims Credit For Tel Aviv Bombing

Islamic Jihad has claimed credit for the suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, blowing holes in the theory promoted by both Palestinian and Israeli officials that Hezbollah did it to undermine the peace process. Now Mahmoud Abbas has to either crack down on IJ leadership or surrender his credibility as a peace partner:

Islamic Jihad carried out a suicide bomb attack in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv that killed four people on Friday, a Beirut-based official from the organization said on Saturday.

"We confirm that we carried out the operation," the official, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

Friday's bombing at a Tel Aviv nightclub dealt a heavy blow to peace hopes that had brightened since Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon agreed to a ceasefire at a Feb. 8 summit.

Now we know how successful Abbas has been in convincing the militants to observe the cease-fire. This announcement appears to confirm a de facto triangle offense, whether or not Abbas wants it. If Islamic Jihad insists on carrying out terrorist activities in Israel and Abbas cannot stop them from doing so, Israel will have to respond. That will effectively destroy the delicate negotiations, and the Palestinians -- who support the terrorists when given the chance -- will blame Israel for their own bloodthirsty nature.

Color me surprised only in the rapid and rather overt development of the strategy. When the Palestinians tire of war, they'll cast votes for peacemakers instead of terrorists. Only when that happens will a Palestinian government arise that can effectively stop the terrorists. Until that happens, Israel should consider themselves under attack and take appropriate measures to defend themselves, and ignore further calls for cease-fires that only seem to apply to the Jews.

UPDATE: The news report has been changed to include a confirmation from a Gaza-based IJ source:

Its Gaza-based leadership, who had earlier denied knowledge of the bombing and said it remained committed to a de facto truce called by Abbas, confirmed the claim. ...

A video left by the bomber, Abdullah Badran, 21, showed him flanked by Islamic Jihad flags calling Israelis "enemies of God" and vowing to avenge the killings of Palestinians.

Abbas sure does look effective now, doesn't he? He still wants people to believe that Hezbollah conducted the operation even while his IJ cohorts publicly claim responsibility. Yeah, that makes for effective diplomatic partnership.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 26, 2005 1:05 PM

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» PIJ or Hezbollah from Soccer Dad
Roger L. Simon writes that the difference between Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad have been difficult to discern. He points to Captain's Quarters (and disagrees with CQ) that they are distinct terror groups. Yes, Hezbollah has been distinct from PIJ and... [Read More]

Tracked on February 27, 2005 5:59 AM

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