INDEPENDENT NEWS

Arafat Strongly Decries Killing of U.S. Diplomats

Published: Thu 16 Oct 2003 09:40 PM
Arafat Strongly Decries the Crime Targeting American Diplomats
GAZA, Palestine - President Yasser Arafat, in a statement, drew strong denunciation today over the crime that targeted a US Diplomatic convoy in Beit Hanoon, north of Gaza Strip, which left three people dead.
The statement said that he issued orders to establish a joint Palestinian- American panel to investigate such heinous crime.
President Arafat also paid his attributes and heartfelt condolences to the American President Bush and the bereaved families.
The Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie’ also called for the immediate probing of the attack.
In a phone interview with Al Jazeera TV, Dr. Sa’b Erakat, cabinet minister, called the bombing a ”devastating act“ that dealt a blow to the efforts of bringing international observers to the region.
“Such attack would be exploited by many parties as an attempt to wipe out the provision outlined in the "Road Map" peace plan to bring international observers to the Palestinian territories by the Quartet committee, but we will offer the establishment of a joint US-Palestinian probing committee.” Erakat told Al Jazeera TV.
He went onto saying “not a single Palestinian is willing to harm the American observers whom came to put in motion the Road Map peace plan. This is a devastating act not merely for the peace process but also for the possibility to have international peacekeeping forces aiming to protect the Palestinian people.”
The blast went off around 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday as a three-car U.S. diplomatic convoy drove near a gas station on the outskirts of the town of Beit Hanoon in the northern Gaza Strip, along the main north-south road.
U.S. diplomatic sources said the people in the car were security guards for the U.S. diplomats traveling in the other vehicles.

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