Allies condemn an enemies salute action of bombers


THE bomb blasts that killed 25 people and wounded 77 in Israel yesterday showed the clear faultline between the Jewish state's friends and foes.

Western allies and Israel's Arab partners in the peace process condemned the bombs, but Islamic and Palestinian radicals called the militant Islamic bombers "heroic".

In Washington, US President Bill Clinton deplored the "dark vision" of the bombers and vowed never to let them derail the USbrokered Middle East peace process.

In London, Prime Minister John Major sent a message of support. "London has suffered its own bombings in the last fortnight, including on a bus last weekend, so I know all too well the devastation they will have caused, shattering both lives and hopes that such indiscriminate and senseless violence might at last have given way to dialogue."

Jordan's King Hussein said: "My feeling is one of bitterness and disgust." Palestinian President, Mr Yasser Arafat, condemned the attacks. "This is a terrorist operation. I condemn it."

However, a spokesman for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a radical group within the Palestine Liberation Organisation that President Arafat heads, praised the bombers. "We welcome any action against the Israeli occupation." And the Lebanese militant group Hizbollah said the struggle would go on.

Iran's state run radio said the bombs showed Palestinians saw armed struggle as the only way to gain back their territories. It blamed "the sharpening of the expansionist policies of the Zionist regime" for this.

Egypt, Israel's oldest peace partner, condemned the bombings.

The French Prime Minister, Mr Alain Juppe said he knew Israel would not be derailed from seeking peace.