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5 Israelis die in attacks

suicide bombing
Israeli police carry body of a victim killed in suicide bombing at a train station Sunday.  


JERUSALEM (CNN) -- With cease-fire talks between Israelis and Palestinians scheduled to begin this week, a series of Palestinian attacks on Sunday left five Israelis dead and dozens wounded.

Two attackers also died in Sunday's attacks -- one driving a car equipped with a car bomb and the other, a suicide bomber.

The attacks began early in the morning in the Jordan Valley, when gunmen opened fire on a minivan carrying teachers to a regional school inside a West Bank settlement.

Two Israelis were killed and four others wounded, according to Israeli hospital sources, who added the injured were taken to hospitals by helicopter.

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The Islamic Jihad told news agencies in Lebanon that its men were responsible.

Soon after, as a train from Tel Aviv pulled into the station in the northern Israeli town of Nahariya and passengers filled the platform, a man carrying a box stepped from a small cafe along the platform and blew himself up, witnesses told Israeli Radio.

Three Israelis were killed and dozens were wounded, police said. Arab media received calls that attributed the attack to the Hamas group.

Later, a third explosion, a car bomb, detonated in a busy intersection in central Israel, Israeli police said. The bomb killed the driver, and three Israelis were slightly wounded when nearby cars caught fire.

Israeli helicopters then hit a string of Palestinian security targets in the West Bank towns of Ramallah and Jericho. Although Palestinian security forces had evacuated major buildings and police posts in anticipation of the strikes, three Palestinians were slightly wounded.

In Kabatiya, a town south of Jenin on the West Bank, an Israeli helicopter fired two missiles at a Palestinian police station, which had been evacuated, Israeli military sources said.

The Israeli government said it is holding the Palestinian Authority responsible.

image
Palestinians salvage items Sunday from two Fatah buildings struck by Israeli missiles.  

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met Sunday afternoon with his security Cabinet, a meeting that had been scheduled before the attacks to consider the army's plans to impose fresh restrictions on Palestinian movement in "security zones" along the West Bank's border with Israel.

After a weekend meeting with his Cabinet, Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat appealed to the international community to stop the Israeli government from going ahead with its planned buffer-zone policy. Arafat called it a racist separation plan.

Peres, backed by Western intermediaries and with the blessing of Sharon, is pushing for the meetings as the only way to begin cease-fire talks. But the Palestinians have said they want to be assured of a political dividend before agreeing to cease-fire talks.






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RELATED SITES:
• Palestine Red Crescent Society
• Palestinian Authority
• Israel Defense Forces
• Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
• United Nations

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