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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Militant: Martyrdom to Escalate

NABLUS, West Bank/TEL AVIV, Israel -- A leader of the militant group behind a suicide bombing that killed two Israelis in a city park vowed Thursday to carry out more attacks.

The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an offshoot of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, claimed responsibility for the bombing Wednesday night in the town of Rishon Letzion, near Tel Aviv.

The bomber blew himself up next to tables where people were playing backgammon, cards and chess. He killed an elderly man, a teenage boy and himself.

The attack took place hours after Israeli missiles killed a senior commander of the group, Mahmoud Titi, and two other al-Aqsa brigade activists as they stood in a cemetery in the Balata refugee camp in the West Bank city of Nablus.

A senior al-Aqsa brigades leader said at the three men's funeral that the group would avenge Israel's killing. "Martyrdom operations will continue and escalate because Palestinian blood is not cheap," the al-Aqsa leader said.

Also Thursday, a bomb attached to a tanker truck exploded at Israel's biggest fuel depot in what Israeli police said was most probably a Palestinian terror attack. No one was hurt.

The blast at the Tel Aviv fuel depot appeared to signal a shift toward new targets.

This week, security officials said they uncovered a plot to explode trucks laden with a ton of explosives under the twin Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv, Israel's tallest buildings.

Meanwhile, 12 Palestinian men began life in exile Wednesday, flashing a "V" for victory sign as they left Cyprus for European nations in a deal that ended an Israeli siege of Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity.

One exile has been left behind in Cyprus. Spain and Italy are taking three men each, Greece and Ireland two each and Portugal, Belgium and Cyprus one man apiece.

European Union states squabbled for nearly two weeks to iron out details of where the 13 men -- wanted by Israel but considered heroes by Palestinians -- would move to following their temporary stay in Cyprus.

(Reuters, AP)