Attack damaging to Palestinians, Jordan says

PARIS (AFP) — The United States warned the Hamas-led Palestinian government against defending or sponsoring “terrorist acts” as a suicide bombing in Israel on Monday drew widespread international condemnation. “Defence or sponsorship of terrorist acts by officials of the Palestinian Cabinet will have the gravest effects on relations between the Palestinian Authority and all states seeking peace in the Middle East,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters after a Palestinian suicide attack in Tel Aviv that killed at least 10 people, including the bomber.

“We have noted reactions by several Palestinian terrorist groups, including Hamas, that defend or even applaud the barbaric act of terror committed in Tel Aviv today, as we have noted [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas’ quick denunciation of it,” McClellan told reporters.

Abbas earlier condemned what he called an “act of terrorism,” while Palestinian group Hamas, which recently formed a new government following its January election victory, laid the blame at Israel’s door, calling it a natural consequence of country’s “aggression.”

In Jordan, Government Spokesperson Nasser Judeh, quoted by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, condemned attacks against civilians and said the bombing would “be very damaging to the Palestinian people.”

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed that Israel would react in the “necessary fashion.”

Russia — along with the United States, the European Union and the United Nations part of the so-called quartet which proposed a “roadmap” for Middle East peace — called on both sides to resume negotiations for peace.

“We firmly and without reserve condemn this bloody attack by extremists who have again raised a hand against people who are guilty of nothing,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

It urged the Palestinian leadership to do the “maximum possible” to stop all violence against Israel and also called on the Israeli leadership to exercise restraint to prevent “wide confrontation” in the region.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana also called for “all parties to prevent any new descent into a senseless spiral of violence.”

Meanwhile, French President Jacques Chirac said he condemned the attack in “most categorical fashion” in a message to Israeli President Moshe Katsav. “France is at the side of Israel in this new ordeal,” he said.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also issued a warning to the new Palestinian government to rein in terrorists.

“I vigorously call on the new Palestinian government to fulfil its promises on an international level, by disarming terrorist groups and destroying terrorist infrastructures,” he said in a statement.

The Spanish foreign ministry “recalls its radical condemnation of terrorism in all forms,” it said in a statement, while Switzerland denounced what it called a “cowardly attack.”

The foreign governments offered their condolences to victims of the attacks.

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