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Jerusalem bombs kill one, injure 27


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Israeli officials condemn blasts

Palestinians deny responsibility for baby's death

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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- City buses were the apparent targets of two bomb blasts that rocked Jerusalem less than six hours apart on Tuesday, with one person killed and 27 wounded.

Police said that the second explosion, alongside a bus in the city's French Hill section, was a fatal one, and that the dead person was a suicide bomber.

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CNN's Mike Hanna reports on the shooting death of a Jewish baby in the West Bank

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Police said the bomber, a passenger, left the bus just before the explosion and was killed.

French Hill is a Jewish neighborhood in a disputed area of east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

Officials said one of the 22 wounded in the second blast suffered critical injuries and a second was seriously wondered. The rest suffered light injuries.

At least five people were wounded in the first blast, a car bomb that went off near a busy shopping center. One was seriously wounded and the rest suffered moderate to light injuries.

The militant Islamic Jihad group claimed responsibility for the bomb, which went off in the Talpiot neighborhood at 7:40 a.m. (0540 GMT), just as the morning rush hour was starting.

Police said some of those injured were passengers on a bus passing by the car, which officials believe was stolen.

Israeli officials condemn blasts

Israeli officials condemned the bombs, and warned that such acts would do little to bring peace to the troubled Middle East.

"It looks like there was an organized attempt of terror and violence, and I think it is tragic. It leads nowhere," said Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.

"The only way to make peace is by negotiation without the threat of violence, without bombing and shooting," he said. "I think this is a great error which really affects the peace process negatively."

The blasts underscored a tumultuous, uncertain time in the Middle East, a day after bullets from a Palestinian neighborhood in the West Bank town of Hebron struck and killed a 10-month-old Jewish girl in a Jewish enclave.

The Israeli army responded with intense tank and machine gun fire shortly after the killing and evacuated the Palestinian neighborhood, Abu Sneinah.

The Israeli commander in the area said the baby, who was the youngest victim in six months of fighting between Israelis and Palestinians, was intentionally targeted by a Palestinian sniper.

Palestinians deny responsibility for baby's death

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon blamed Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat directly for the child's death, but the Palestinians denied any direct or indirect responsibility.

Since this round of violence began more than six months ago, more than 400 people, most of them Palestinians, have been killed.

Sharon, who took office earlier this month after trouncing Ehud Barak in an early election forced by Barak's sudden resignation, has repeatedly said he would not negotiate with the Palestinians until the violence ends.

"This is not how one stops violence and this is not how one wants to make peace," said Uzi Landau, an Israeli official, referring to the Palestinian Authority. "This is one who really wants to fight us and we'll have to defend ourselves with every possible means."

But in Amman, Jordan, Arab leaders opened a summit on Tuesday where they were expected to offer a unified show of support for the Palestinians.

Jerusalem Bureau Chief Mike Hanna contributed to this report.



RELATED STORIES:
U.N. to resume Mideast talks
March 26, 2001
Israelis order evacuation of Arab district in Hebron
March 26, 2001
March 24, 2001
March 23, 2001
March 23, 2001
Sharon: Arafat blocking peace
March 22, 2001
Mitchell panel tours Gaza
March 21, 2001
Israel closes off Bethlehem after settler dies
March 19, 2001

RELATED SITES:
The Israeli Prime Minister's Office
Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Palestinian National Authority
Israel Defense Force
Israel Defense Forces

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