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The BBC's Frank Gardner
"Israeli's are now living in fear"
 real 56k

Thursday, 26 October, 2000, 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
Israel fears after suicide bomb
The Fatah movement is seeking militants' help
A Palestinian has died in a suicide bomb attack next to an Israeli army post in the Gaza strip, sparking fears of a renewed spate of suicide bombings.

The man, identified as Nabil al-Arair, was reportedly a member of the militant Islamic Jihad movement, though the movement has so far made no comment on the attack.

It came after Israeli and Palestinian security officials reported no progress at talks between their security officials, aimed at agreeing ways of ending weeks of violent clashes, which have left more than 130 people dead.

Some 130 people have been killed in almost a month of violence
And after the attack an Israeli army spokesman accused the Palestinian Authority of giving a "green light" to bombers by releasing dozens of militants from jail after the latest month of violence started.

One Israeli soldier was lightly injured in the bomb blast on Tuesday morning, in what is reported as the first suicide attack in Israel and the Palestinian territories in two years.

US concerns

Israelis and Palestinians have both blamed the attack on the Islamic Jihad, whose leader was killed exactly five years ago.

The explosion, which took place near a Jewish settlement, shattered what correspondents described as among the quietest 24 hours since the start of clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli army.

Sporadic clashes continued overnight, with an Israeli tank firing on the Palestinian village of Beit Jala, near Jerusalem, in response to Palestinian shooting at a suburb of Jerusalem.

clinton at the white house
President Clinton wants Yasser Arafat to do more
The United States has expressed "serious concerns" about reports of close co-operation between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's forces and militant Islamist groups to direct the uprising in the West Bank and Gaza.

President Clinton also tried to put more pressure on Mr Arafat by saying the Palestinian leader was able to "dramatically reduce the level of violence" in the West Bank and Gaza.

Militant activists

US concern was raised by reports in The Washington Post that Mr Arafat had formed "a working alliance" with Palestinian radicals he had previously put in jail.

BBC correspondent Barbara Plett says the existence of a committee including representatives from all the Palestinian factions, including Mr Arafat's Fatah movement and the Islamist Hamas, raises questions about a possible hardening of Mr Arafat's position.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, has moved to form a new coalition government with the right-wing Likud party, which is strongly opposed to the peace process.

In 1996, Israel was paralysed by a series of suicide bombings that killed more than 50 people.

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