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Dichter rapped for slow rampage response

Israel’s internal security minister drew fire for holding a politicized news conference during the Jerusalem bulldozer rampage.

Avi Dichter, one of the senior members of Israel’s ruling Kadima Party who is expected to challenge Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in a future leadership contest, convened reporters Wednesday to criticize the incumbent.

He continued speaking even after receiving word from aides that an Arab bulldozer driver was running amok in downtown Jerusalem.

Political pundits were united Thursday in condemning what they called a dereliction of duty by Dichter, who oversees Israel’s police and other security forces and might have been expected to rush to the scene of the unprecedented attack.

Dichter’s spokesman, Barak Sery, told Army Radio that the minister had not been sufficiently informed on the incident and had no way of knowing terrorism was involved.

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