27/10/2005 - 10:17:19

Israel sealed its crossings with the Gaza Strip today after a Palestinian suicide bomber killed five people.

In addition, the army closed off the West Bank, preventing Palestinians there from travelling to Israel.

The army said in a statement it had closed the Erez crossing – the main passage for Gazans into Israel – and the Karni commercial border point.

A Palestinian suicide bomber himself blew up yesterday in an open-air market in the Israeli coastal city of Hadera, and Israel vowed to target the Islamic Jihad group that claimed responsibility for the attack.

Prime minister Ariel Sharon and defence minister Shaul Mofaz decided overnight to target the group, said foreign ministry spokesman Mark Regev.

There is no time limit on the offensive, which will continue until the group’s infrastructure is eliminated or the Palestinian Authority begins to act against the militant groups, Regev said.

“Islamic Jihad has declared war on every Israeli civilian and of course we’re 100 per cent entitled to take the appropriate action to defend our civilians,” Regev said.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon today promised a broad offensive against Palestinian militants following the suicide bombing.

Sharon made the comments at the start of a meeting with Russia’s visiting foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov.

“Unfortunately the Palestinian Authority has not taken any serious action to battle terrorism,” Sharon said.

“We will not accept under any circumstances a continuation of terrorism. Therefore our activities will be broad and non-stop until they halt terrorism.”

source: http://breakingnews.iol.ie/news/stor...98&p=y6x5684x4