Three people were killed and two others were critically wounded Monday morning in an suicide bombing attack that rocked a shopping area located in Eilat's Izidor neighborhood. Two Palestinian groups, the Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades - the military wing of President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction - claimed joint responsibility for the attack.
The Bush administration reportedly will grant $86.4 million to strengthen the Fatah forces, including Force 17, Abbas' security detail, which also serves as de facto police units in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
The U.S. aid is meant to bolster Fatah, which the U.S. considers moderate, against Hamas.
Rice announced U.S. military envoys in Israel created "a plan for security forces that can be part of the solution, not part of the problem. And this plan is not just to equip them and train them, [but] it is also to professionalize them, to unify them, to put them under a single command."
Fatah's strongman in Gaza, Mahmoud Dahlan, has been tasked with leading the effort to create the unified Fatah security forces.
On October 20, 2000, “Dahlan was behind the October 18 bombing of an Israeli bus in Gush Katif."
On November 16, 2000, “members of the Preventive Security Force in Gaza, headed by Mohammed Dahlan, were involved in a series of attacks on Israelis in Gush Katif and Netzarim.”