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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 June, 2003, 05:34 GMT 06:34 UK
Suicide bomber hits northern Israel
Senior Hamas delegates arrive for a meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza City 18 June 2003
Hamas insists on its right to attack Israeli soldiers and settlers
A suicide bomber has killed himself and an Israeli man in northern Israel, reports say.

The attack is said to have happened at a grocery shop in Sde Trumot, a small village a few kilometres from the Palestinian-run West Bank.

The owner of the grocery store was seriously wounded and died in hospital, medics said.

The bombing came as Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas prepared to hold further meetings in Gaza City with militant Palestinian groups, to try to arrange a ceasefire.

Ending militant attacks against Israelis is a key element of the US-backed roadmap to Middle East peace, which aims to create a Palestinian state by 2005.

Mr Abbas - commonly known as Abu Mazen - held separate talks with senior members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad on Wednesday, officials said.

Phase 1 (to May 2003): End to Palestinian violence; Palestinian political reform; Israeli withdrawal and freeze on settlement expansion; Palestinian elections
Phase 2: (June-Dec 2003) Creation of an independent Palestinian state; international conference and international monitoring of compliance with roadmap
Phase 3 (2004-2005): Second international conference; permanent status agreement and end of conflict; agreement on final borders, Jerusalem, refugees and settlements; Arab states to agree to peace deals with Israel

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest attack, which reportedly happened shortly after 0600 local time (0300 GMT) on Thursday.

One witness said the bomber was a young man carrying a bag and dressed in jeans and a short-sleeved shirt.

"He walked up to the grocery store, all the while looking me in the eye," Asher Ben-Moussa, who had been sitting at a nearby bus stop, told Israel Radio.

"He touched several bottles of wine near the door and waited only 10 seconds before going inside and blowing up.

"Then everything flew towards me."

Israeli has insisted that no progress in the roadmap can be made until Palestinian violence is stopped.

"Someone has to wipe out the terrorist groups. Either Abu Mazen will do it, or we will have to do it," said Finance Minister Benjamin Natanyahu, speaking on Israel TV during a visit to Washington.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, speaking to Jewish fundraisers from abroad on Wednesday evening, said: "Moving forward requires a complete cessation of terrorism, violence and incitement."

Their comments came after an attack on a car by a Palestinian gunman which killed a young Israeli girl on Tuesday.

Israel and the Palestinians



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