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11/20/02 - ISLAMIC JIHAD TERRORISM - 2002-11-20

A dozen Israelis have been killed in the latest attack by the terrorist group Palestine Islamic Jihad. The terrorists struck November 15th, attacking soldiers and security personnel near the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell called the attack “reprehensible.” He said, “These kinds of terrorist acts can only do enormous damage to the Palestinian cause, and must stop.”

Palestine Islamic Jihad, or P-I-J, has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist attacks in recent years. They include the suicide bombing of an Israeli civilian bus on the way from Tiberias to Tel Aviv on June 5th. Seventeen people, including the suicide bomber, were killed and more than three dozen wounded. On July 17th, two P-I-J terrorists set off suicide bombs in Tel Aviv. They killed three people and wounded about forty.

Founded in the 1970s, Palestine Islamic Jihad is committed to the destruction of Israel and the creation of an Islamic Palestinian state. The P-I-J opposes moderate Arab governments that it claims have been tainted by Western secularism.

Palestine Islamic Jihad receives financial support from Iran and logistical support from Syria. Like several other terrorist groups, the P-I-J is based in Damascus, capital of Syria. As Secretary of State Powell said, “It is impossible to understand how any country that claims a genuine commitment to peace can harbor such groups.”

The United States is committed to the evolution of a Palestinian state that can live at peace with Israel. As President George W. Bush made clear, the U.S. will not let the terrorists “destroy the possibility for peace.”