Sunday, February 05, 2006

Palestinian kills woman in Israel after Gaza strike


A Palestinian stabbed to death a woman and wounded five other passengers on a minibus in Israel on Sunday hours after an Israeli helicopter gunship killed three militants in the Gaza Strip.

It was the worst outbreak of violence since the militant Islamic Hamas movement won a Palestinian parliamentary election, dimming Middle East peace hopes as it prepared to take over the Palestinian Authority government.

"An Arab boarded a minibus... and took out a knife and began to stab passengers," Menashe Aviv, a police commander, told Army Radio about the attack in Petah Tikva, a city near Tel Aviv.

He said the assailant, from the West Bank, was disarmed by passersby and taken to a local police station for interrogation.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack which occurred on a shared-taxi minibus during the morning rush hour at the start of the Israeli work week. Moshe Gershoni, driving his car to Tel Aviv, said he witnessed the attack while stopped at a red traffic light.

"I saw a kid who looked like an Arab take out a knife and stab people," Gershoni told Army Radio. "People grabbed him and started to beat him up."

Hours earlier, an Israeli helicopter gunship killed three Palestinian militants from al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades as they drove in a car in Gaza City.

The army said the Israeli air strike, the first since Hamas won a Jan. 25 election, was in retaliation for a rocket attack on Friday against an Israeli collective farm in which three people were wounded, including a baby.