RealNews

Suicide Blasts Rock Mideast

Two Palestinian suicide bombers blew themselves up in separate incidents in Israel and the West Bank this morning, killing two Israelis, injuring at least 17 and threatening to undermine a tenuous cease-fire and the faltering U.S.-backed peace plan. The explosions occurred barely an hour apart — the first inside a supermarket on the edge of this Tel Aviv suburb and the second about 14 miles to the east at a highway intersection near the sprawling Jewish settlement of Ariel. The blasts broke six weeks of relative calm, in which a cease-fire declared by several Palestinian militant groups sharply curtailed such attacks while Israelis and Palestinians wrangled over a peace plan known as the “road map.” Israeli and Palestinian leaders condemned today’s attacks, which were carried out hours before the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, William J. Burns, arrived on a mission to nudge the lagging peace effort. Immediately after the bombings, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon halted the release of 76 Palestinian prisoners, who had already boarded buses and were on their way to freedom, Israeli officials said. The release had been meant as a goodwill gesture toward the Palestinian government. Full Story

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