Jerusalem bombing: the spiralling cycle of violence

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The Independent Online
28 September, 2000

Ariel Sharon, then leader of the opposition, sparks the latest round of intifada with his controversial visit to the Temple Mount, or Haram al-Sharif, or "noble sanctuary", a Jerusalem holy site which was hotly contested in the peace talks, and is revered by both Muslims and Jews. Since then there have been at least 15 bomb attacks against Israeli targets, most of them involving civilians and increasingly carried out by suicide bombers. At least 561 Palestinians and 150 Israelis have died.

28 March, 2001

Two Israeli boys, aged 16 and 14, are blown up by a Hamas suicide bomber as they wait for a bus to take them to school in Newe Yamin near Kfar Saba. That night Israel launches a wave of helicopter and tank assaults on Palestinian police positions in the Gaza strip. Five helicopter gunships attack the headquarters of Yasser Arafat's bodyguard at Ramallah and gunfire from Israeli ships strikes around Mr Arafat's office.

22 April

Hamas sends in its youngest suicide bomber, Imad Kamel al-Zubadi, 18, to blow himself up at a bus stop in Kfar Saba, an Israeli town four miles (6.5km) from the border with the occupied West Bank. The explosion comes at the height of the morning rush hour on Sunday, just as a bus pulls in. It kills an Israeli doctor and wounds at least 41.

18 May

As people flock to the Mediterranean beachside town mall of Netanya on the busiest commercial day of the week, a suicide bomber blows himself up at the entrance to the shopping centre, killing five Israelis and injuring at least 100 people. The military wing of the guerrilla group Hamas claims responsibility, saying it is vengeance for the killing by Israeli troops of the bodyguard of the spiritual leader of Hamas, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, earlier that week. The attack deals a heavy blow to fragile international efforts to broker a truce. The Israelis do not wait long to retaliate – hours later Israeli jets fire missiles into a Palestinian security forces' base and a prison in the West Bank town of Nablus, killing eight.

1 June

At least 17 young Israelis are killed as they wait outside a Tel Aviv nightclub, sparking a particularly strong wave of international revulsion. The militant detonates the bomb as he stands unnoticed in the line of youngsters outside a seafront disco which was popular with young immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Ariel Sharon capitulates to world pressure not to repeat fierce retaliatory attacks.

16 July

A Palestinian suicide bomber in the Jihad group explodes a device at a bus stop outside a railway station in the Israeli town of Binyamina. Two Israeli soldiers are killed and at least six people are injured. Within 24 hours Israel kills four Palestinians and sends troops into the West Bank.

9 August

A Palestinian suicide bomber detonates a bomb in a fast-food restaurant in central Jerusalem killing at least 18 people, wounding nearly 90.

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