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A Palestinian terrorist killed four Israelis and wounded many other people, including Palestinians, in a suicide bombing at a Gaza border crossing. The perpetrator of the January 14th attack was a young woman. Two terrorist groups, Hamas and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, issued a joint claim of responsibility.

U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says that Palestinian officials need to take action against groups that continue to instigate terrorism:

“Those people are not only killing innocent civilians; they are also killing the dreams and hopes of the Palestinian people. . . . You need to end the violence in order to achieve the vision of two states [Israel and Palestine] living side by side.”

In addition to jeopardizing prospects for future peace between Palestinians and Israelis, the January 14th attack has had an immediate negative effect on Palestinians. In an effort to prevent further acts of terrorism, Israeli authorities closed all border crossings between Gaza and Israel. This means that thousands of Palestinians will not be able to cross the border to go to their jobs in Israel.

U.S. State Department spokesman Boucher spoke out especially against Hamas, whose leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, boasted about using a female suicide bomber and threatened more terrorism against Israelis:

“We firmly condemn the statements made by Hamas leader Sheikh Yassin, which incites terror and violence against innocent people and also, as I said, undermines the Palestinian people and their aspirations. Hamas has long been designated a terrorist group in the [State] Department’s Patterns of Global Terrorism reports. They have consistently expressed a commitment to terror and a desire to destroy the state of Israel. They are responsible for killing hundreds of innocent civilians.”

The Palestinian Authority, said U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, “needs to take steps to rein in this violence.”