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Bombs rock Jerusalem as Arab summit convenes

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Israeli authorities examine a bus that was hit by an explosion in Jerusalem on Tuesday  

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Palestinian groups claim responsibility

Israel shocked by baby's death

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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- An apparent suicide bomber was killed and as many as 35 people were wounded on Tuesday when two bombs rocked Jerusalem less than six hours apart.

Palestinian militants claimed responsibility for the blasts, which went off as Arab leaders convened a summit in Jordan's capital.

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CNN's Rula Amin on the Arab Summit and the role Ariel Sharon might play in the peace process

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Views of the blast wreckage, from CNN's Jerrold Kessel, who also hears from an Israeli official

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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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In Jerusalem, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres vigorously condemned the bombings, saying they would do little to foster peace in 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," Peres said.

"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."

In Amman, Jordan, where Arab leaders were expected to offer a unified show of support for the Palestinian uprising against Israel -- and against what the Palestinians say is Israel's excessive use of force against them -- Egyptian Foreign Minister Amre Moussa dismissed the Israeli complaints.

"The violence doesn't just come from the Palestinians," he said in Amman.

Palestinian groups claim responsibility

Israeli police said that five people were wounded in the first blast, a car bomb that went off near a busy shopping center in the Talpiot neighborhood as the morning rush hour got under way.

Police said some of those injured were passengers on a bus passing by the car, which officials believe was stolen. The five injuries ranged from moderate to light.

The militant Islamic Jihad group claimed responsibility for the bomb, which went off at 7:40 a.m. (0540 GMT).

Police said that the second explosion happened just after 1 p.m. (1100 GMT) alongside a bus in the city's French Hill section, a Jewish neighborhood in a disputed area of east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

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An Israeli girl reacts at the site of an explosion outside a bus in Jerusalem on Tuesday  

Police said the apparent bomber had been a passenger on the bus, but got off when he aroused the suspicions of other passengers. His belt of explosives went off as he was standing beside the bus, police said.

The Associated Press reported that it received a leaflet claiming responsibility for the second blast for an unknown Palestinian group calling itself the "Popular Army Front."

Officials said one of the 30 people wounded in the second blast was in critical condition and a second was seriously wounded. The rest suffered light injuries.

Israel shocked by baby's death

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 of 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.

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, nearly 500 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."

Jerusalem Bureau Chief Mike Hanna contributed to this report.



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Israelis order evacuation of Arab district in Hebron
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Arafat: Upcoming Arab summit most important yet
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Palestinians talk of new tactics as clashes rage
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Israel approves construction of new settlement
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Sharon: Arafat blocking peace
March 22, 2001
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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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