Hadera bombing victim Jamil Ka'adan
was buried in Baka al-Gharbiya
Thursday. The funeral procession left the town's mosque at 11:30 a.m. and proceeded through the streets of the town toward the local cemetery.
The funeral of Michael Koifman
was held at 2 p.m. in Hadera.
The funeral of Perhia Mahlouf
was held at 3 p.m. in Hadera. The funeral of Sabiha Nissim
took place at 3:30 p.m. at Moshav Ahituv. Yaakov Rahmani
was buried at 4 p.m. in Hadera's old cemetery.
Overnight Wednesday, Sharon and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz
decided to clamp down on Islamic Jihad
, which claimed responsibility for the attack, in a series of on-going military operations.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev
said there was no time limit to the offensive, which will continue until the group's infrastructure is eliminated or the Palestinian Authority
begins to act against terrorist groups.
"Islamic Jihad has declared war on every Israeli civilian and of course we're 100 percent entitled to take the appropriate action to defend our civilians," Regev said.
In addition to the ground offensive, a full closure was imposed Thursday morning on Judea and Samaria, while the Karni and Erez crossings in the Gaza Strip
, which were re-opened on Wednesday morning, shut their gates.
The IAF will also continue to launch strikes against Kassam launch sites in Gaza.
Meanwhile, in the West Bank, three Islamic Jihad operatives were arrested in the northern city of Jenin, not far from Kabatya, the terrorist's hometown. Other operatives were arrested in Tulkarm
, and Hamas operatives were also detained in the southern West Bank city of Hebron
Of the dozens who were wounded in the attack, 20 were still hospitalized on Thursday morning, five of them in serious condition.
The fatalities were identified last night as Michael Kaufman, 68, Yaakov Rahmani, 68, and Perhia Mahlouf, 53, of Hadera; Sabiha Nissim, 66, of Moshav Ahituv, and Jamil Ka'adan, 48, of Baka al-Gharbiya.
The Islamic Jihad said the attack was in retaliation
for the killing by IDF troops of the organization's top military commander, Luay Sa'adi, and one of his aides in Tulkarm on Monday.
Senior security officials, however, said that the bombing had probably been prepared long in advance and that it was known beforehand that Sa'adi had been planning an attack inside Israel
A senior official in the Prime Minister's Office rejected Palestinian claims that it was a revenge attack, saying it was part of a "premeditated strategy of terror" adopted by the Palestinian terror organizations and supported by Iran, Syria
The official said that the attack fit intelligence assessments that the disengagement from Gaza would be followed by increased attempts to carry out attacks from Judea and Samaria. He slammed the PA for not taking any effective action to stop the terrorism.
Mofaz, who returned Wednesday afternoon from a high profile meeting in Cairo with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
, called a meeting of security chiefs immediately upon his arrival.
An official in the Prime Minister's Office said there would be a continuation of sustained operations throughout Judea and Samaria aimed at "flushing out the terrorists."
"The arrests and IDF actions that we have been taking will be intensified," the official said. "If we need to carry out door-to-door searches in Jenin and Tulkarm, then we will do so. If not, then northern Samaria could turn into Iraq."
What was surprising was the public support by some members of Fatah's
Aksa Martyrs Brigades for the bombing and their stated intention to also carry out attacks inside Israel in response to every initiated action by the IDF in the territories.
The statements made live in front of the world media were in direct contrast to the condemnation of the attack by PA leaders. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
condemned the suicide attack, saying in a statement, "It harms Palestinian interests and could widen the cycle of violence, chaos, extremism and bloodshed."
"It is not permitted for anyone to take the law into their hands," he added.
The suicide bomber was identified as 20-year-old Hassan Abu Zeid, from the West Bank village of Kabatiya. He reportedly served time in an Israeli prison, but was released because he was classified as not having blood on his hands. Police and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) are focusing on how he entered Israel and managed to reach the market.
Initially, it was reported that the bomber may have been a Palestinian woman, but police said forensic evidence at the scene indicated that the attack was perpetrated by a young man.