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Sunday, 30 June, 2002, 08:30 GMT 09:30 UK
Bomb rocks Israeli train
Israeli soldier in Bethlehem
The army has moved into several West Bank towns
A bomb has exploded on a railway track near the central Israeli town of Lod.

The blast occurred as a train passed over the spot, but only three people were slightly injured.


At this stage of the inquiry, everything leads us to believe that this was a Palestinian attack

Gil Kleiman
Israeli Police Superintendent

The attack came during the early morning rush hour on Sunday morning, at the start of the Israeli working week. Rail services were disrupted.

Meanwhile, more than 24 hours after Israeli troops blew up the Palestinian Authority's local headquarters in Hebron, the search continues for 15 wanted militants.

Israeli officials said they found no trace of the group, which had holed up in the building last week.

Palestinian officials said the militants had escaped, while Israeli radio reported the 15 were likely to have been killed in two massive explosions.

New target

Sunday's bombing is the first time an attack has been reported on a train, although Palestinian suicide bombers have frequently targeted buses, killing scores of Israelis.

West Bank and Gaza map
"At this stage of the inquiry, everything leads us to believe that this was a Palestinian attack," Israeli Police Superintendent Gil Kleiman told the French AFP news agency.

The siege of the Palestinian Authority headquarters in Hebron began Tuesday, when the Israeli army moved into the town.

Hebron is one of seven Palestinian population centres in the West Bank that Israel has taken over in recent days, imposing curfews that have confined 700,000 residents to their homes.

The West Bank incursions are in response for two devastating Palestinian suicide bomb attacks that killed 26 Israelis in Jerusalem

'Controlled explosions'

Palestinian officials have angrily denounced the destruction of the Hebron headquarters.

The Israeli army said it had used more than a ton of explosives in the operation, which brought an end to a four-day siege in Hebron. It left a pile of rubble and overturned cars.

Rubble of Palestinian HQ in Hebron
Israel used bulldozers to search the rubble

A number of Palestinians took refuge in the compound on Tuesday after Israeli forces advanced into the city.

About 20 Palestinians subsequently surrendered, but 15 wanted men stayed inside the building, Israeli officials said.

The curfews were temporarily lifted for several hours on Saturday, in all the West Bank towns except Hebron.

Israel usually lifts the curfews on West Bank towns every third day so Palestinians can buy food.

In the main West Bank cities, there was a rush to the hospitals and long queues in waiting rooms.

Hospital officials said most were not critical cases, but children with high temperatures and people requiring post-operative care.

Shops were also crowded, and students in Ramallah took the opportunity to sit their delayed exams.


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29 Jun 02 | Middle East
28 Jun 02 | Middle East
26 Jun 02 | Middle East
26 Jun 02 | Middle East
26 Jun 02 | Middle East
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