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Two Israelis dead, 9 injured in Gaza bombing
The attack apparently was aimed at a bus carrying schoolchildren from the Jewish settlement of Kfar Darom in southern Gaza. No children were killed in the blast, but at least five were among the injured.
The bus was being escorted by the Israeli military at the time of the attack, witnesses said.
Shortly after the bombing, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak issued a statement describing the blast as a "very grave incident." The prime minister was to meet with his Security Cabinet later in the day, officials said.
The Palestinian Authority released a statement saying that it opposes violence, regardless of who commits it, and that it has launched an immediate investigation of the bombing.
Spokesman Nabil Abu-rudeineh said the Palestinian Authority had "nothing to do" with the attack.
Leaders calling for restraint
The blast came at a time when Palestinian and Israeli leaders had been making statements aimed at taking the heat out of the Mideast conflict -- which has claimed more than 250 lives in recent months.
Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat and Barak had both spoken of the need for restraint.
Barak said Sunday that Israel didn't want to escalate the conflict, and therefore was not planning to retaliate for the shooting death of an Israeli soldier in a Saturday attack on an Israeli outpost in Gaza.
Violence continued Sunday
That gun battle that left one Israeli soldier dead and two others wounded, one critically.
The lone gunman was identified as Palestinian security officer Baha Said, a 30-year-old resident of the al-Maghazi refugee camp. The Fatah Hawks, an armed militia faction of Arafat's Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for Said's actions.
Palestinian leaders also had said they were working to implement Arafat's recent call for an end to shooting from territory under his control.
But the violence continued Sunday when two Palestinians were killed and several others injured in a series of clashes with Israeli soldiers.
Conflict claims more than 250 lives
Sunday also saw the wounding of Yoram Havivian, Israel's vice consul general to Amman. Havivan was on his way to work when gunmen fired at his car from a passing vehicle.
He was treated and released from a hospital a few hours later. Barak said the incident was severe, and that every effort should be made in conjunction with Jordan to find those responsible.
There are about 6,500 Jewish settlers living in Israeli-protected enclaves in Gaza.
Since the violence between the Palestinians and Israelis erupted September 28, at least 257 people have been killed, including 219 Palestinians, 25 Jews and 13 Israeli Arabs.
CNN Correspondent Jerrold Kessel contributed to this report.
Ongoing Israeli-Palestinian violence decreases, Israeli army says
The Jerusalem aa Web site
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