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Israel considers reaction to bombings

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Mourners cry at the funeral of an Israeli soldier killed on Saturday night.  


(CNN) -- The full Israeli government plans to hold an emergency meeting Monday to decide its response to a series of suicide bombings that killed at least 28 people -- 25 victims and three bombers -- over the weekend in Jerusalem and Haifa.

Two suicide bombers detonated their explosives near the crowded Zion Square shopping complex in Jerusalem late Saturday night, killing 10 victims and themselves. The explosions wounded about 180 others. A third explosion rocked the area about 10 minutes later from a car bomb that was timed to explode as rescue workers arrived to tend to casualties, police said.

Most of the victims were young people who came out after sundown to celebrate the end of the Sabbath. (Full story)

About 12 hours later, a powerful bomb ripped through a bus in the Israeli port city of Haifa around midday Sunday, police said, killing at least 16 people, including a suicide bomber, and injuring about 35 others.

Police said a man calmly boarded the bus, paid his fare and seconds later detonated the explosion that sent the bus lurching across the road into another bus. (Full story)

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon cut short his visit to the United States, meeting for about an hour with President Bush at the White House before leaving for Israel a day early.

Sharon plans to convene an emergency meeting of the Israeli Cabinet on Monday to decide how Israel will respond to the latest terror bombings.

Before his meeting with Sharon, Bush called the attacks "horrific acts of murder" and said the crisis represents a "moment where the advocates of peace must rise up and fight terror." (Full story)

Israeli officials blamed the Palestinian Authority for failing to control militant Palestinians.

VIDEO
CNN's Chris Burns has more on the reaction regarding the latest acts of violence to take place in the turbulent Middle East (December 2)

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CNN's Jerrold Kessel has more on the continued violence in the Mideast and it's implication on the peace process (December 2)

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MORE STORIES
President Bush statement on bombings 
Statement from U.S. envoy Anthony Zinni 
Reaction from world leaders 
 
EXTRA INFORMATION
Gallery: Blasts rock Jerusalem mall 
Gallery: Bus bombing in Haifa 
Map: Terror attack locations 
In-Depth: Mideast Struggle for Peace 
 
RESOURCES
CNN Access: 'Words aren't enough any longer'
On the Scene: Arafat's 'moment of truth'
Message Board: Mideast violence 
 
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Witnesses describe the scene after the bombing of a Jerusalem pedestrian mall on Saturday.

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Israeli Cabinet member Dan Meridor said Saturday Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat is not a suitable peace partner if he cannot control the violence.

"If we have an agreement with him tomorrow morning if he cannot carry it out why should we talk to him?" Meridor said.

"He is the guy to take the responsibility .... We are tired of his words. He should take action immediately. People get killed in the streets. It will not go on like this forever."

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said Arafat condemns the attacks "in the strongest possible terms."

Arafat declared a state of emergency in response to the bombings and ordered his security forces to pursue those people involved in planning and carrying out the attacks and bring them to justice.

Palestinian security forces arrested two Hamas leaders Sunday and dozens of members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

The two Hamas leaders arrested in Gaza were Ismail Abu Shanab and Ismail Haniyeh. Palestinian police also arrested 40 other people in Gaza and 80 in the West Bank, all members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, according to Jibril Rajoub, the chief of Palestinian preventive security in the West Bank.

Rajoub denounced Palestinians who went against Palestinian Authority decisions, citing specifically the cease-fire agreement that Arafat had entered into. He said such people were only playing into the hands of the Israelis and were destroying the Palestinian Authority.

Latest developments

• Palestinian sources in Gaza told CNN that Jordan's King Abdullah and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak plan to hold a summit meeting Monday in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, in response to the bombings.

• A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces confirmed the Israeli army killed four Palestinians near Jenin Sunday.

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The bus explosion happened shortly after noon at a busy intersection in downtown Haifa.  

• U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said there was "no justification for using a car bomb against innocent children, young people, out for a nice evening." He also said the Bush administration did not lobby against Israeli military retaliation.

• Hassan Abdel Rahman, Palestine Liberation Organization representative to the United States, said the responsibility for controlling terrorists should not rest solely with the Palestinian Authority. "It is unfair to put the blame on Yasser Arafat and the authority alone without looking at what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians," Abdel Rahman said. "The conditions that are created by Israel make the Palestinian people very angry and very frustrated."

• Retired U.S. Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, who is in the region to broker a cease-fire between Israelis and Palestinians, said he condemned "in the strongest possible terms the vicious and evil terrorist attacks in Jerusalem."

• The attacks came on the heels of the arrest of more than a dozen members of the Islamic Jihad after the group claimed responsibility for two recent suicide attacks in Israel. Palestinian authorities said many of the arrests occurred in the West Bank, including the arrest of Mohammed al-Hindi, a top operative of the group.

• There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Jerusalem attacks. A person speaking Arabic called the Jerusalem bureau of the BBC, identified himself as being from the Islamic Jihad and said the group was behind the Jerusalem bombings. A Web site claiming to represent the radical Islamic group Hamas said it was responsible for the Jerusalem and Haifa attacks.



 
 
 
 


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