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SHARON TARGETS ISLAMIC JIHAD & CLOSES OFF GAZA STRIP SETTLEMENTS

PM Sharon: 'I Have Ordered IDF To Attack Islamic Jihad With All Force'

Spokesman Gissin: 'Israelis Will Not Be Guinea Pigs For Palestinian Leader Abu Mazen's Experiments With Terrorists'

Death Toll Rises To Five - Two Women, Two Teen Age Girls And An IDF soldier

Two Teen-age Victims

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is targeting Islamic Jihad terrorists on the West Bank after one of their suicide bombers murdered two Israeli women and two sixteen-year old girls in the town of Netanya. The IDF is now carrying out a combing operation for Jihad members in the town of Tul Kerem area, which was recently evacuated by Israeli forces. Meanwhile, in the Gaza Strip, Sharon declared the settlements off limits to outside visitors. The settlers have lambasted the decision charging that the Israeli Prime Minister has declared a part of the Land of Israel to be 'Juden Rein'.

:: IsraCast Audio ::

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has launched a major military strike against the Islamic Jihad stronghold in the West Bank town of Tul Kerem. This as the death toll in yesterday's suicide bombing rises to five: two Israeli women, two sixteen year old girls and an IDF soldier. IDF forces were sent on the combing operation within hours of the terrorist explosion that rocked the Israeli resort town of Netanya on the Mediterranean. Sharon says he has ordered the IDF to 'root out the terrorists with all force!' His spokesman also told IsraCast that 'Israelis are not going to be guienea pigs for Abu Mazen's (Mahmoud Abbas) experiments with the terrorists.' Gissin said the Palestinian leader has not done one thing to halt the terrorists and he added that Palestinian condemnations of terrorism ring hollow when they are not followed by deeds.

In another development, Israel has declared the settlement bloc in the Gaza Strip 'off-limits' to all Israelis who do not live there. The step comes just over a month before the settlements there and four more on the West bank are to be evacuated. The closure was apparently imposed before tens of thousands of disengagement opponents planned a huge protest march into the settlements on Monday against the withdrawal.This much is clear - the Gaza closure is the first stage of the withdrawal being implemented on the ground; 'the disengagement train has started leaving the station'. The settlers are aware of this and are furious. Some charge that for the first time an Israeli Prime Minister has declared part of the Land of Israel 'off-limits' to Jews.

David Essing

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