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World - Middle East

Pipe bombs injure at least 19 in Israel

graphic

November 7, 1999
Web posted at: 7:18 a.m. EST (1218 GMT)

From Correspondent Jerrold Kessel

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Three pipe bombs exploded in a coastal town in Israel, injuring at least 19 people on Sunday, and police were trying to defuse a fourth device near the scene of the explosion.

The bombing occurred at 10:30 a.m. (0830 GMT) near a trash bin in the coastal town of Netanya, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Tel Aviv, on the eve of new peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Police said the bombing was a terrorist act, and a number of suspects have been taken into custody.

Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh said the bombing -- which authorities said left only three people with moderate to serious injuries -- should not interrupt the peace process. Prime Minister Ehud Barak's office said only that the bombing was "a very serious development," and that Israel was committed to undercutting terrorism.
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    There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which happened the day after the military wing of the Islamic militant group Hamas threatened to renew action against Israel in response to Israeli settlers' continued presence on the West Bank.

    Hamas opposes Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's peace agreements with Israel, and intensive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on a permanent peace agreement were scheduled to resume on Monday.

    Hamas threatened on Saturday to attack Israeli civilians if Israelis remain in settlements in the occupied West Bank.

    Barak has ordered settlers to leave 12 sites by mid-week or be evicted by the army. Asked about the Hamas threat before Sunday's bombing, Barak said, "The moment we begin moving forward, there will be attempts to torpedo the process."

    Israel is scheduled to hand over more West Bank land to Palestinian rule due on November 15. The two sides have set a target date of mid-February for agreement on a framework for a permanent peace agreement.



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    RELATED SITES:
    Israel's Institutions of Government
    Office of the Israeli Prime Minister
    The Middle East Network Information Center
    Palestinian National Authority
    Hamas website: Palestinian Information Center
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