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Wednesday, 8 August, 2001, 23:22 GMT 00:22 UK
Suicide bomb injures Israeli soldier
An Israeli soldiers inspect bomb site
The blast split the car in half
A Palestinian suicide bomber in a car killed himself and injured an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint on Wednesday in another day of tit-for-tat violence.

Israel immediately launched helicopter raids on a post belonging to the elite Palestinian security organisation, Force 17, but no-one was injured.


We are committed to peace and are ready to make painful concessions for peace.

Ariel Sharon
In Turkey, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit told his Israeli counterpart, Ariel Sharon, not to be "unrealistic" about his conditions for resuming peace talks - a snub from Israel's closest ally in the Middle East.

About 700 lives have been lost - more than 500 of them Palestinians and - in the 10-month Palestinian uprising or "intifada".

Israeli security sources say the bomber set off a bomb in the car he was travelling in when an Israeli soldier approached him at a roadblock near the West Bank town of Nablus.

'Heroic'

Correspondents say the explosion split the car in half - each part landing on opposite sides of a dirt road.

The Islamic group Hamas declared that the man, who was named as 20 year-old Ashraf al-Saed was a "heroic" member of its military wing.

The latest attacks follow Tuesday's killing of a Jewish settler - which prompted earlier attacks on Palestinian security offices in Salfit, near Nablus.

Despite the diplomatic setback in Turkey, Mr Sharon refused to shift from his position that violence must stop before talks could resume.

"We are committed to peace and are ready to make painful concessions for peace. However, we will not make any concessions when Israeli citizens and security are at stake," he said at a press conference.



He also repeated his opposition to the deployment of international observers - the latest attempt to persuade both sides to abide by the ceasefire signed on 13 June.

In what correspondents say is might be a worrying sign of violence spreading across the region, both Palestinians and Israelis have said that Tuesday's killing of an Israeli businessman in the Jordanian capital, Amman, was political.

Two Palestinian groups say they kelled the man, adding that Yitzhak Sneir worked for the Israeli intelligence service, Mossad.

In the face of the Middle East deadlock, some Palestinian groups are now considering the possibility of forming a government of national unity.

Relations have generally been fraught between Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority, Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and other groupings.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Nick Childs in Jerusalem
"No-one seems ready or able to halt"
See also:

08 Aug 01 | Middle East
Palestinians discuss unity government
08 Aug 01 | Middle East
Sharon's Turkey visit divides loyalties
07 Aug 01 | Middle East
Israeli businessman killed in Jordan
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