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Sharon cuts short visit, leaves Delhi tonight
A Correspondent | September 10, 2003 08:36 IST
Last Updated: September 10, 2003 13:36 IST
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will cut short his visit to India and return home on Wednesday evening, a day earlier than planned, Israel Radio said.
This comes after two suicide bombings killed 13 people near Tel Aviv and in Jerusalem on Tuesday night.
The first explosion was at a bus stop near an Israeli army base while the second was at a caf�.
CNN reported that 'Sharon was told about the Tel Aviv bombing before he began a dinner with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, according to senior adviser Ra'anan Gissin. "Terror is a worldwide problem that must be fought without compromise and relentlessly," Gissin quoted Sharon as saying. "There can be no compromise on the fight on terror."'
The Israeli daily Hareetz said Sharon will not travel to Mumbai where he was supposed to meet industry leaders and the Jewish community on Thursday, but take a flight home. He will arrive in Israel on Thursday morning.
Quoting government sources last night, after talking with senior members of the prime minister's entourage, the newspaper said, after the first attack, Sharon announced that he did not intend to cut short his visit, as it would constitute giving in to terrorism.
But when his aides woke him up to inform him of the second attack in Jerusalem, he decided that he would need to rethink the decision in the morning, once the situation became clearer.
The radical Islamic movement Hamas had vowed revenge after Israeli assassinations killed 14 of its leaders over the past three weeks. Hamas did not claim responsibility for the attacks, but in a statement on Al-Jazeera television praised the bombings.
Last Saturday, Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin escaped an Israeli attack. The assassination attempt came after a suicide bombing killed 22 people on a Jerusalem bus.
Sharon is the first Israeli prime minister to visit India since the two nations established full diplomatic relations in 1992.
On Tuesday, Israel had pledged India material and moral support in fighting terrorism.
At a ceremonial reception on the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Tuesday, Sharon had said, "We are very much interested in developing and strengthening our relations with India because India is one of the most important countries in the world."Warmly welcoming Sharon, Vajpayee said he was confident this "historic" visit would further cement ties between India and Israel.