Israeli academic injured in bomb blast

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One of Israel's leading centre-left academics was injured early today when a pipe bomb blew up outside his home in an attack which police suspect was the work of Jewish extreme right-wing extremists.

The victim of the attack was Professor Zeev Sternhell, a Holocaust survivor and recent winner of the prestigious Israel prize, who has long opposed Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories.

Police said they had found fliers in the area of the attack offering 1.1m shekels (£173,000) to anyone who kills a member of the long established organisation Peace Now, of which Mr Sternhell is a veteran member.

The professor was in hospital tonight with minor shrapnel wounds in one of his legs. Police said that the explosive had been planted on the doorstep of his Jerusalem home and was detonated when he opened the door.

Tzipi Livni, foreign minister and the prospective Prime Minister, said that the attack was "intolerable" and could not be glossed over. Ehud Barak, the Labour leader and Defence Minister also strongly condemned the attack "from a dark corner" of Israeli society against a "very gifted person who never shies away from expressing his opinion.”

In a statement which coupled condemnation of the attack on Professor Sternhell with a reference to the apparently growing instances of settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, Peace Now said: "Those who don't enforce the law on violent settlers... will find himself with a Jewish terror organization in the heart of Israel.”

In contrast with the West Bank, political violence by right wing extremists inside Israel has been relatively rare-with the notable exception of the assassination of the then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv in 1995. Another extremist killed a member of Peace Now with a grenade at a 1983 peace protest.