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Egyptian state paper backs Palestinian militancy

By Staff
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CAIRO, Apr 18 (Reuters) A state-owned Egyptian newspaper today said that a suicide bombing which killed nine people in Tel Aviv was a response to Israeli attacks on Palestinians, and Palestinians should not abandon the struggle against Israel.

But another state newspaper said the bombing yesterday claimed by the militant group Islamic Jihad, should be condemned as terrorism because it targeted civilians. The bombing damaged Palestinian interests, added the newspaper al-Ahram.

An editorial in the first paper, al-Gomhuria, said: ''The Palestinian people are not required to raise their hands in surrender and accept gratefully daily Israeli attacks which kill Palestinians ... and watch with delight as hosts of settlers roam their land.'' ''The Palestinian people are not required to applaud Israel and its allies as they mobilise the world far and wide to besiege a steadfast people struggling for its rights,'' it added.

The brief editorial, entitled ''Al-Gomhuria says'', criticised the U S and Israeli campaign to isolate Hamas after it won elections in January and took over the Palestinian cabinet.

''The Palestinian people are not required ... to turn the page of struggle and stop the march of battle before achieving their goals,'' it added.

''That's why the guerrilla martyrdom operation in the heart of Tel Aviv yesterday took place, and all subsequent operations,'' the editorial said.

It is rare for Egyptian state media to give such forceful support to Palestinian militancy against Israel, and in particular to a suicide bombing.

The headline in al-Ahram called the bombing a guerrilla operation, using the positive Arabic word ''fida'i'', but the editorial said the bombing gave Israel a pretext for the use of force and that violence did not serve the interests of either side.

The Egyptian government, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979 and has pressed militant Palestinian factions to stop attacks on Israeli civilians, made no immediate comment on the bombing.

REUTERS OM HT1552

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