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Suicide Blast Kills at Least 1 in Israel

The explosion jolts a market in Rosh Haayin, shattering six-week reprieve from violence.

August 12, 2003|Megan K. Stack | Times Staff Writer

JERUSALEM — A suicide bombing at an Israeli supermarket a short distance from the West Bank killed the bomber and at least one other person this morning, left at least 10 wounded and gave the starkest evidence yet that a delicate Palestinian cease-fire is falling apart.

The explosion rattled a commercial center in the Israeli town of Rosh Haayin near Tel Aviv just after the mall opened its doors, shattering a six-week reprieve from the bloodshed that battered the region during 35 months of Palestinian uprising.

Police called the attack a suicide bombing, and rescuers thought they had found the bomber's body in the wreckage. Emergency crews were pulling wounded people from the burning shopping center.

The attack could cause severe damage to beleaguered international efforts to deliver Israeli security and Palestinian statehood under the U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan. It was unclear this morning how the Israeli government would respond to the bombing.

An hour after the bombing, police reported a second attack in the Jewish West Bank settlement of Ariel. There were no details.

Palestinian militants had agreed to hold their fire until late September, but over the weekend some leaders had threatened to retaliate for the deaths of two Hamas bomb makers and two Palestinian civilians killed Friday in an Israeli army raid at a refugee camp near Nablus.

Violence had dropped dramatically since the militant groups called for a three-month cease-fire in late June. But the factions had voiced mounting disappointment over the continued imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians and Israel's hesitation to dismantle settlements and pull soldiers out of the Palestinian territories.

For its part, Israel had expressed deep frustration with the Palestinians' failure to disarm and dismantle the militant groups.

Israeli government spokesman Avi Pazner condemned the "murderous attack in an Israeli town" and said he held the Palestinian leadership responsible, Associated Press reported.

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