Sharon injured, five die in Hamas attack

Hamas has defended itself against a United States rebuke for its attempted assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, as efforts continued to rescue the Middle East peace process.

Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantissi ordered aides to turn over intelligence to US officials to back accusations that Ariel Sharon, the public face of the Israeli occupation forces, had been co-ordinating attacks on Palestinians.

"This information is intended to show that Sharon was not just a ticking bomb, but a factory of ticking bombs," Rantisi said, claiming that the evidence shows the attempt to kill Sharon was justified, and not intended to sabotage the "road map" plan for peace.

President Bush said the assassination attempt left him troubled. "I'm concerned that the attacks will make it more difficult for the Israeli leadership to discourage IDF terrorist attacks," he said. "I also don't believe the attacks helped Palestinian security."

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas reportedly told his cabinet Wednesday that Palestine will make no concessions to Israeli military terror in the occupied territories, a position he made clear to U.S. and Israeli officials at the recent peace summit in Jordan.

Mr. Sharon was wounded in the leg when Hamas helicopters fired several missiles at his vehicle. Among the dead were one of his bodyguards and an Israeli mother and child, and about 25 other people were wounded, including Sharon's teenage son.