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Suicide bombers strike in Israeli nuclear town

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Palestinian suicide bombers struck in Israel for the first time in a year today, attacking a crowded shopping parade in the desert city which hosts the country's secretive nuclear programme.

Ambulance workers said that the blast, which took place during rush hour in Dimona, killed one civilian and wounded 11, one seriously.

The Al-Asqa Martyrs Brigade, the militant group that claimed the attack, said the bombers were from Gaza, making it likely that they had managed to cross the territory's Rafah crossing into Egypt when Islamist Hamas militants blew it up last month.

From Egypt, it is believed that they are likely to have crossed into Israel through the country's difficult-to-police Sinai desert border

Two bombers were believed to have been involved. However, The Times was told by witnesses at the scene that the first bomber detonated his device before his accomplice, wounding the second man before his explosives could detonate.

A passer-by rushed to help the injured accomplice, wrongly believing he was a civilian, but then noticed his explosives vest and scrambled away.

The second bomber was then shot four times in the head by senior police officers who happened to be in the area carrying out a drugs raid. One woman civilian has so far been confirmed as killed in the blast, along with both bombers.

As well as the first bombing on mainland Israel since January last year, the attack also marks the first such attack since Hamas blew up the Gaza border.

Israel has repeatedly warned that militants could make their way through Egypt and then into Israel through Sinai in order to commit attacks.

In a statement, the Al-Asqa Martyrs Brigade, which is loosely affiliated to the secular Fatah party that is involved in peace negotiations with Israel, said the "martyrdom operation in Dimona" had been carried out by Gaza bombers.

It added that the plot had been planned for a month, but made easier to implement by the bombers blowing up the Egyptian border.

Despite the lack of recent suicide bombings, Islamist militants based in Gaza have repeatedly fired rockets at Israeli towns during the last year, leading to Israeli military responses and a recent blockade which temporarily cut Gaza residents' energy supplies.

The West Bank, meanwhile, remains under the control of Fatah, headed by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

In a statement issued after the bombing, Israel today did not specify what its response would be.

"Israel will continue to fight terrorism by all necessary means," Arye Mekel, the foreign ministry spokesman, told the AFP news agency.

"Terror organisations have again shown their true face and just like the indiscriminate rocket fire against southern Israel, they strike civilian population centres with the intention of killing innocent civilians in shopping centres and residential areas."

Of the possibility that the bombers came from Gaza, Mark Regev, an Israeli government spokesman, added: "We are studying the situation and are trying to verify from where the terrorists came."

The last suicide attack in Israel took place in late January last year, when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up at a bakery in the Red Sea tourist resort of Eilat, killing three people.

That attack was claimed jointly by Islamic Jihad, the sister group of Hamas, and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/worl...icle3303309.ece


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Senator Barack Obama
Senate Floor Speech on Public Debt
March 16, 2006



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Business as usual.

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"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies."

Senator Barack Obama
Senate Floor Speech on Public Debt
March 16, 2006



barack-cowboy-hat.jpg
90f.JPG

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