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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

May 19, 2003

SHOPPING CENTRE BLAST


At least four people have died after a female suicide bomber detonated a bomb in a shopping mall in northern Israel, it is reported.

At least 15 people are reported to be wounded, some seriously.

Israeli radio said the explosion happened at the entrance of the mall in Afula.

A guard conducting security checks at the entrance to the Emakim mall prevented the bomber from entering the shopping centre, Israel Radio reported.

The militant Palestinian group Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

It is the third attack in Israel in 48 hours and the fifth in three days.

Earlier today, three Israeli soldiers were injured when a Palestinian on a bike detonated explosives next to a military jeep in the southern Gaza Strip.

And over the weekend a double suicide bomb attack in Jerusalem left nine Israelis dead.

Israel responded on Sunday by closing its borders, preventing Palestinians entering Israel to work.

The attacks prompted the Israeli PM Ariel Sharon to cancel talks in Washington with President George Bush.

Mr Sharon had earlier met the new Palestinian PM Mahmud Abbas for the first time to discuss the US-backed roadmap to peace.

Mr Sharon insisted the peace process would continue.

Attacks by militant Palestinian groups frequently accompany apparent breakthroughs in the peace process.