Five Israelis killed in bus station attack - Sharon: Effort to ´influence the Israeli electoral campaign´ (CNN) BEIT SHEAN, Israel 11/28/02 1:34 PM EST (1834 GMT)
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BEIT SHEAN, Israel (CNN) -- Two Palestinian gunmen opened fire
Thursday at a bus station and adjacent Likud party polling station in
Beit Shean, Israel, killing five Israelis, according to police.
Four of the Israelis died at the scene, and a fifth died later of his
wounds. The two Palestinians were killed in an exchange of gunfire
with Israeli police and soldiers who were at the bus station, Israeli
At least 36 Israelis were wounded in the terror attack, rescue
officials said, four of them seriously.
Police said two Palestinian gunmen drove up to Beit Shean´s central
bus station and opened fire at people standing at a bus stop. Israeli
soldiers at the bus stop returned fire.
The head of the Likud party office said people waiting in line to
vote in the party´s primary election were wounded by explosions and
gunfire. He said there were two explosions followed by about 15
minutes of gunfire.
"Suddenly we heard two loud blasts, probably grenades, and massive
shooting, bursts, towards the voters. People ran away," Rafi Ben-
Sheetrit told the Israeli newspaper Ha´aretz. (More witness accounts)
In the primary, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon faces Foreign
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the Likud party leadership. (Full
At a news conference, Sharon charged that "Arab terrorists" are
attempting to "influence the Israeli electoral campaign and our very
Sharon urged Israeli voters not to be intimidated and to "go vote."
Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant offshoot of Palestinian leader
Yasser Arafat´s Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for the
shooting in a call to the Reuters news agency.
The caller said the attack was in revenge for the killing of two
militant leaders -- one from Al Aqsa and another from the Islamic
fundamentalist group Hamas -- in the West Bank city of Jenin on
Tuesday. Israel has denied being involved in those deaths.
Palestinian Cabinet member Saeb Erakat condemned the shooting, saying
the Palestinian Authority opposes all attacks on civilians. He
pleaded for help from the so-called Mideast "quartet" -- the United
Nations, United States, Russia and European Union -- to restart peace
talks with Israel.
Among the injured were three sons of Knesset member David Levy. One
was seriously injured and two were slightly hurt, a family spokesman
said. Levy was in Tel Aviv at the time of the shooting.
A number of schools near the scene of the shooting were under a
Beit Shean is in the northern Jordan Valley near the Israel-Jordan
border. (© 2002 Cable News Network LP, LLLP. 11/28/02)
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