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The BBC's Orla Guerin
"The truce has been shaky since the start"
 real 56k

Monday, 9 July, 2001, 10:05 GMT 11:05 UK
Suicide bomber dies in Gaza blast
Israeli troops by remains of booby-trapped vehicle in Gaza Strip
Hamas said it was avenging a Palestinian boy's death
The Islamic militant group Hamas has said it carried out a suicide car bombing in the Gaza Strip which killed the vehicle's Palestinian driver.

The group's armed wing named the bomber as Nafez Ayesh al-Nadher, 26, and published his photograph.

And in the West Bank, an Israeli soldier wounded by an explosion while on patrol near Hebron has died of his injuries.


The Gaza explosion happened near the Kissufim crossing point between Israel and Gaza - a road junction used by vehicles travelling to and from Israeli settlements.

The Israeli Army said there were no other casualties.

But a video which Hamas says was taken of the explosion shows a white minibus travelling along the settlers' road when the Palestinian lorry detonates and the scene is engulfed in smoke.

The bombing was a response to "the assassination and killing of children," Hamas said. The Palestinian's body was found at the scene, Israeli military officials said.

Palestinian police later arrested an accomplice of the bomber, the French news agency AFP reported.

Suicide bombers

On Sunday, Hamas vowed to send 10 suicide bombers against Israel to avenge the army's killing of an 11-year-old Palestinian boy, Khalil Mughrabi.

The boy was with a group of as many as 20 other children when he was shot by Israeli soldiers from a nearby Israeli observation tower on Saturday.

The grandfather of Khalil Ibrahim Al-Mughrabi weeps before his funeral
Relatives of the boy mourned in the presence of his body
The Israeli defence forces say that there had been grenades fired from the area, and they were returning fire.

However, local residents say there was no trouble in that part of town, which runs along the border.

An Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) spokeswoman said Israeli posts in Rafah had come under heavy fire in the 24 hours preceding the boy's death, with a barrage of 26 grenades as well as Molotov cocktails and hours of stone-throwing.

Relatives of the boy mourned in the presence of his body.

Two other children, aged 10 and 12, were also shot. The younger of the two was seriously injured, but doctors now say that he is out of danger.

He is presently in a hospital in the refugee town of Khan Yunis.

Flashpoint

The incident has raised passions in the southern town of Rafah, which is a flashpoint for violence between Palestinians and Israeli posts.

Seventeen Palestinians and 10 Israelis have been killed since a ceasefire drawn up by the US CIA Director George Tenet was supposed to have taken effect on 13 June.

Both sides have accused the other of breaches of the agreement, which now appears in disarray.

At least 476 Palestinians, 122 Israelis and 13 Israeli Arabs have been killed since a Palestinian uprising began in September after peace talks stalled.

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See also:

08 Jul 01 | Middle East
Palestinian boy shot dead in Gaza
06 Jul 01 | Middle East
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04 Jul 01 | Middle East
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02 Jul 01 | Middle East
Mid-East truce 'close to collapse'
27 Jun 01 | Middle East
Arabs want US to push Israel
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