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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Suicide Bombings Near Ariel, West Bank

Aired August 12, 2003 - 06:31   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Just six weeks into a cease-fire between militant groups in Israel, there have been two more suicide bombings. Keep in mind, no group has claimed responsibility, but Israel has little doubt who is to blame.
The first blast happened about four hours ago at a grocery store inside a shopping mall in central Israel. One Israeli was killed in that blast, at least 10 others injured; the bomber also killed.

A short time later, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a bus stop along a major highway near the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ariel. Authorities say one Israeli was killed at that site, at least four others were injured.

Of course, we concentrated on the bus stop bombing in Ariel at the top of the hour. Now, we want to zero in on the grocery store bombing near Tel Aviv.

Jerrold Kessel has been working that part of the story.

What do you have for us -- Jerrold?

JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An interesting development, Carol. Still no claim of responsibility, as you rightly say, from any of the Palestinian militant groups.

But the Israeli army is saying that the two incidents were not carried out by suicide bombers affiliated to the same organization, but from different organizations. Both the Israeli army saying that they -- both men coming out of the West Bank town of Nablus, which is not far away from that settlement of Ariel, and indeed not far away from the Israeli border where the first attack took place. But that is an interesting development that there may be two groups involved in these attacks this morning.

The first at that border town of Rosh Ha'ayin, where, outside a supermarket, a man went in, blew himself up, wounded eight people, killed one Israeli. And then within 40 minutes, there was the other attack at the bus stop outside the settlement of Ariel. There, a teenager was killed and four other people wounded, among them two seriously.

These back to back bombings, although no responsibility has been claimed for them, has certainly cast doubt on whether the cease-fire, which the militant groups proclaimed at the end of June, will last until the projected date at the end of September. A lot of doubts now have arisen about that. Israel, while not blaming the Palestinian Authority directly, says they are cause for the situation taking place, because, say Israeli officials, the Palestinian Authority has simply not gone off to the militant groups and dismantled their apparatus or tried to disarm them.

The Palestinian leadership, while condemning the attacks, says Israel is responsible for carrying out various provocative actions in the West Bank and for not fulfilling its part of the bargain under the road map for peace.

So, amid these new recriminations, certainly a very serious situation developing for that already fragile and already frayed road map for peace -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Yes, and later today, the top U.S. envoy is expected to meet with the Israel prime minister, right?

KESSEL: Right. William Burns, the U.S. undersecretary of state, is due here. And originally, it had been thought that apart from dealing with the fragile state of the road map for peace, he would try to get a handle on the Israel-Lebanon border situation, which flared up on Sunday in the hope of keeping a lid on that as well. But now, clearly, Mr. Burns' attention - and he's due to meet with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian prime minister, tomorrow, possibly in Amman, Jordan, although the Palestinian prime minister is flying there urgently from the Gulf, where he had been on a visit. And Mr. Burns' attention will clearly be turned to trying to keep a lid on the Palestinian-Israeli situation, which is now not just fragile, but volatile -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Jerrold Kessel live from Jerusalem this morning.

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