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Terrorism Claims 4 More Israelis on Eve of Israel-plo Peace Accord

September 13, 1993
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A series of terrorist incidents over the weekend claimed the lives of four Israelis and marred the euphoria surrounding a historic agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization that is supposed to usher in a new ear of peaceful coexistence.

An armed terrorist boarded an Egged bus Sunday evening on the road from Ashdod to Ashkelon and stabbed and killed the driver after he stopped the vehicle and put up a fight.

The attacker also stabbed two soldiers on the bus before a third soldier opened fire and killed him.

The terrorist had been carrying grenades and explosives which were later neutralized. The highway remained closed for some time after the incident.

In a separate incident Sunday morning, three Israeli soldiers were ambushed and killed by gunmen of the Islamic fundamentalist Hamas group in Gaza City just hours before Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin boarded a plane for Washington to sign the historic peace pact with the PLO.

Publication of news of the attack on the soldiers was withheld by the censor for nearly 12 hours while their families were informed.

The attack was carried out at 9:30 local time as the Cabinet was meeting to ratify the Israel-PLO mutual recognition pact and the self-rule agreement for the Gaza Strip and the West Bank town of Jericho.

The interconnection of the events was made clear by a pamphlet left at the scene.

The flyer, signed by the El-Kassam military wing of Hamas, said the attack was part of the organization’s ongoing fight against the agreement and the “continuing war against the Israeli army and the Jewish occupiers of Palestine.”

Preliminary investigations indicated that two or three Hamas gunmen opened fire at short range and sustained automatic fire at an army jeep that was patrolling the Zeitun suburb east of Gaza City.


The gunfire wounded the three Israeli soldiers, including the driver, who lost control of the vehicle.

The jeep then crashed into a wall of a shop at the side of a local mosque, killing all three soldiers.

The assailants stole two of the three rifles carried by the soldiers. They overlooked a third rifle hidden under a seat.

In a separate incident that occurred about 30 minutes before the ambush, a suicide bomber driving a booby-trapped car killed himself when he ran his vehicle into a prison service bus carrying 45 policemen and prison staffers in Gaza City.

Two of the passengers, who were on their way to work at the Gaza jail, were slightly injured by the impact of the vehicle.

But the cooking-gas cylinders and explosive charges the attack vehicle carried as a makeshift bomb failed to detonate, preventing a major blast which would have caused far greater casualties and damage.

Also on Sunday, a 22-year-old Palestinian was killed in the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip when a grenade he was holding blew up while he was fleeing Israeli soldiers.

He was reportedly wanted by the authorities for terrorist activities.

Sunday’s attacks came in the wake of calls from militant Arab leaders bent on undermining the proposed agreement for Palestinian self-rule in Gaza and Jericho to step up attacks against Israelis.

On Friday, the same day Rabin put his signature to a historic letter granting Israeli recognition to the PLO, protesters staged a demonstration in the West Bank town of Ramallah against the accord.

Some 200 supporters of rejectionist groups — including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Hamas — participated in the demonstration, which turned violent when they began throwing gasoline bombs and stones at Israeli army jeeps.

Israeli soldiers opened fire, killing two Palestinians and wounding eight others.

The same day, in eastern Jerusalem, 200 supporters of the PLO threw rocks and bottles at army jeeps and a post office that had already closed for the day, prompting Israeli police to respond with tear gas.

(Contributing to this report was JTA correspondent Hugh Orgel in Tel Aviv.)

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