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      Four Israelis Killed In Attack; Arabs Celebrate In Shechem

      As Israelis collected their dead and wounded from the scene of the suicide bombing in Petach Tikva Thursday night, Arabs in Shechem went out into the streets to publicly celebrate the Jewish victims’ deaths.
      First Publish: 12/28/2003, 1:27 PM / Last Update: 12/26/2003, 1:26 PM

      Four people were killed in the attack and 24 others were wounded.

      The murder victims are:

      * IDF Corporal Angelina Chkerov, 19, from Kfar Saba. She was laid to rest Friday morning in the Kfar Saba Military Cemetery.

      * IDF Staff-Sergeant Noam Leibowitz, 22, from Elkana, was laid to rest Friday morning in the Elkana Cemetery.

      * IDF Corporal Rotem Weinberger, 19, from Kfar Saba, was laid to rest Friday in the Kfar Saba Military Cemetery.

      * Adva Fisher, 19, of Kfar Saba. She died of her injuries in Petach Tikva’s Beilinson Hospital a few hours after the attack. Funeral arrangements to be announced.

      The explosion occurred at a bus stop located under the bridge at the Geha junction near Jabotinsky street in Petach Tikva - three stops before Tel Aviv - on one of Israel's busiest highways. Yossi Sedbon, Tel Aviv district police commander, said medics and rescue workers had difficulty reaching the scene because of heavy rush hour traffic.

      He also noted that the junction, just outside Tel Aviv, is regularly used by PA Arabs waiting for Israeli contractors looking for cheap labor to pick them up. Because of this, the suicide bomber was able to approach the bus stop without raising suspicion.

      It should be noted that over recent weeks, the army has implemented a series of measures aimed at easing the pressure on the residents of the PA, including allowing thousands of PA Arabs to enter pre-1967 Israel to find work. However, following the Geha suicide bombing, the IDF clamped a full closure on PA residents throughout Yesha (Judea, Samaria & Gaza). As a result, PA residents will not be permitted to enter "Green Line" Israel until further notice, except for humanitarian cases.

      Police officials announced they will be increasing deployment of officers in the Gush Dan region in the wake of the attack.

      In Beit Furik, near Shechem, IDF forces demolished the home of the suicide bomber, 18-year-old Saad Hanani. The PFLP terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack.

      In Washington, the United States Department of State released a statement condemning last night’s suicide bombing attack, calling on the PA to do more to combat terrorism. PA leader Ahmed Qurei also issued a condemnation.