Blasts hit Jerusalem outskirts

At least nine people, including two bombers, have been killed, in Jerusalem in attacks staged just hours after talks were held between the Palestinian and Israeli prime ministers aimed at restarting the stalled peace process.

    The attack came at the beginning
    of the rush hour

    Disguised as a religiously observant Jew and wearing a skullcap and prayer shawl, the first bomber blew himself up on an Israeli commuter bus, killing at least seven people and wounding 20.

     

    The attack was staged in North Jerusalem’s French Hill junction, a spot that has been targeted often in the past because of the high number of Jewish settlers who pass through it on their way into Jerusalem from the West Bank. French Hill is on land Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war

     

    Jerusalem Police Chief, Micky Levy, told Israeli public radio the bomber was probably heading towards French Hill but detonated his explosives prematurely due to the huge security deployment.

     

    The first human bomber blew himself up in the front of the bus around 6am local time, at the beginning of the morning rush hour.

     

    Eyewitness accounts

     

    Witnesses and rescue workers said that, following the explosion, the bus was blown onto the side of the road and all its windows were shattered.

     

    The peace movement has been
    demoralised by almost three
    years of violence

    Another human bomber detonated his explosives' belt in the same area, at the entrance to a Jewish settlement and close to the Palestinian village of Aram, killing only himself and bringing the overall toll to nine dead.

     

     

    There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either Jerusalem blast.

     

    Hebron attack

     

    In another human bombing attack, late on Saturday night, two Jewish settlers were killed in the Israeli occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

     

    The man who carried out the operation in Hebron was identified by relatives as Fuad Qawasmeh, 21, a supporter of Hamas, which has been fighting Israeli occupation since 1987.
     

    Qawasmeh's family said Hamas had informed them that he had carried out the bombing in the volatile city.

       

    On Saturday, Israeli Prime minister Ariel Sharon and his Palestinain counterpart Mhmoud Abbas held three hours of talks in Jerusalem that lasted past midnight but failed to reconcile a list of conflicting demands for ending violence.

     

    The main source of discord remained which side should make the first move under a three-phase peace proposal that Washington hails as a new opportunity for Middle East peace

    following the war in Iraq, Israeli and Palestinian sources said.


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