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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Will Two Attacks Stall Latest Middle East Peace Efforts?

Aired August 12, 2003 - 05:02   ET

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

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Back to that breaking news out of the Middle East. The question this hour, will the two attacks stall the latest Middle East peace efforts? In the first incident, which happened less than three hours ago, a suicide bomber set off an explosion at a supermarket east of Tel Aviv. Within an hour after that, another suicide bombing at a West Bank bus stop near a Jewish settlement. The two bombings killed two Israelis and injured 12 others.
We want to get details now on this news out of Israel.

Jerrold Kessel live in Jerusalem -- Jerrold, tell us more about it.

JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly these back to back suicide bombings, coming less than an hour apart, have cast doubt on the viability of this peace process known as the road map for peace. In the incidents, two Israelis have been killed by the suicide bombers and more than a dozen wounded, of whom a number are reported in serious condition.

The first attack was in the Israeli border town, the border between Israel and the West Bank of Rosh Ha'ayin, just at a supermarket. The suicide bomber walking into the supermarket, blowing himself up, killing one Israeli and wounding around a dozen there. And then less than an hour away, an hour later, and just 15 miles or so away, inside the West Bank at a bus stop, a suicide bomber approaching a group of Israelis set off his explosives there, killed himself and killed one young Israeli, wounded two others seriously.

There's been no claim of responsibility yet, but certainly these incidents, back to back, are casting doubt on whether that cease-fire proclaimed by the militants, which has brought a relative calm this summer, will last to its projected date, the end of September.

Israel is blaming the Palestinian Authority for not going after the militant groups and disarming them and bringing them under control. Palestinian leaders, while condemning the attacks, say that this underlines the need to pressure Israel to advance down that peace road and give Palestinians hope that the peace process becomes a viable affair. But Palestinians are also saying that these attacks are as a result of Israel's provocations and not because Israel has not undertaken its obligations as part of the road map for peace. And that was certainly the message underlined by militant groups. A spokesman for Hamas down in Gaza saying while they don't claim responsibility for the actions, Israel's provocative actions have generated this threat to the cease-fire, which they say they're still abiding by.

Too, late developing news out of this story, Carol. In the last few minutes, Israeli police are saying they've arrested a man who they believe transported at least the first suicide bomber to that attack inside Israel and may have also taken the second suicide bomber to that position outside the Jewish settlement inside the West Bank. And Israel has delayed the release of 69 Palestinian prisoners who were supposed to be released at the very time that these two suicide attacks took place this morning -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right, Jerrold Kessel live from Jerusalem this morning.

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