Israeli Clampdown Remains in Place Following Terror Attacks

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:11 PM EDT

Jerusalem ( - Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer decided to stop easing the restrictions Israel has imposed on Palestinians following a second deadly terror attack in two days.

Three civilians were killed and more than 35 wounded in a double suicide-bomb attack in Tel Aviv late Wednesday evening. Two of those killed and many of the wounded were foreign workers who live in that area, police said.

Two young Palestinians, each wearing explosive belts packed with nails and other sharp metal objects to maximize casualties, blew themselves, one after the other, as they stood about 50-65 feet apart.

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

The attack came just one day after eight people were killed and 16 others injured in a terrorist ambush on an Israeli bus near the West Bank settlement of Immanuel.

Ben-Eliezer decided to halt the easing of restrictions on Palestinian businesses and commerce because of the attacks.

Ben-Eliezer emphasized that Israel is trying to make things as easy as possible for the Palestinian population despite the fact that the Israeli people are still suffering from terror attacks, a statement from his office said.

Israel lifted its military curfew of Ramallah, Jenin, Kalkilya and Hebron for 12 hours on Thursday, despite the decision of the defense minister.

Some 700,000 Palestinians in seven West Bank cities have been under military curfew for the last month, as Israel has launched an effort to destroy the terrorist infrastructure throughout Palestinian areas.

Until Tuesday, Israelis had enjoyed 26 days without a "successful" terror attack.

Overnight, Israeli forces cornered a squad of militants from Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction in a village near Nablus. The army said the squad had been responsible for a number of shooting attacks.

In an ensuing exchange of fire, one of the terrorists was killed and three others wounded, one of whom died later. The wounded were evacuated to an Israeli hospital, the army spokesman said in a statement.

The soldiers discovered a large explosives lab containing bombs, grenades, ammunition, bullet-proof vests and other equipment, the spokesman said.

Also overnight, Israeli fighter planes struck what was described as a "Hamas workshop" in the Gaza Strip where mortar shells, among other things, were being manufactured. Palestinians did not report any casualties from the attack.

An increasing number of mortar shells have been fired at Israeli targets over the last few days.

Meanwhile, Israeli security forces are remaining on high alert against the possibility of terror attacks.

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