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8/19/03 - P-A MUST ROOT OUT TERRORISTS - 2003-08-19

On August 12th, four people were killed and eleven were wounded in terrorist attacks in Israel and the West Bank. The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing of a grocery store in Rosh Haayin, Israel. Hamas claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing of a bus stop at the West Bank Israeli settlement of Ariel. White House deputy press secretary Clair Buchan expressed President George W. Bush's reaction to news of the attacks:

“We condemn, in strongest terms, today's terrorist attacks which claimed the lives of innocent Israeli civilians and injured many more. The Palestinian Authority must act now to dismantle terrorist networks that perpetuate such attacks. While all parties have responsibilities in bringing peace to the Middle East, ending terror must be the highest priority, and all parties -- the Palestinians, the Israelis, and partners in the region -- must work immediately to end terror and keep the path open for peace."

The August 12th attacks violate the cease-fire announced by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups on June 29th. President Bush says ending terrorist attacks is essential to reaching a comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

“All parties agree that a fundamental obstacle to peace is terrorism, which can never be justified by any cause. Prime Minister [Mahmoud] Abbas committed to a complete end to violence and terrorism. The Palestinian Authority must undertake sustained, targeted and effective operations to confront those engaged in terror and to dismantle terrorist capabilities and infrastructure."

The U.S. is determined to help Prime Minister Abbas root out terrorist groups trying to wreck the movement toward peace. But the Palestinian Authority must act immediately. As President Bush put it, "Israelis and Palestinians deserve the same chance to live normal lives, free from fear, free from hatred and violence, and free from harassment."