News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International

20 August 2003

Israel/Occupied Territories: Amnesty International condemns suicide bombing

Amnesty International condemns in the strongest terms the suicide bomb attack which killed 20 people, including children, and injured scores of others on a bus in Jerusalem last night.

"Palestinian armed groups must put an immediate end to such crimes and to their policy of deliberately targeting civilians," said Amnesty International. Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad, two of the main Palestinian armed groups, were reported to have claimed responsibility for the attack.

The repeated and deliberate killings of civilians by members of Palestinian armed groups perpetrated as part of a policy to target civilians constitute crimes against humanity.

This latest attack brings the number of Israelis killed by Palestinian armed groups since the beginning of the intifada (Palestinian uprising) in September 2000 to more than 770. Most of the victims have been civilians and include more than 90 children.

In the same period the Israeli army and security forces have killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, including more than 380 children.

Since the announcement of a ceasefire by Palestinian armed groups at the end of June 2003 there had been a marked reduction in the level of violence on both sides. From the beginning of July until yesterday six Israelis and some fifteen Palestinians were killed.

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