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New Explosion Amid Diplomatic Wrangle

Israeli-Palestinian violence burst out anew Monday when a car bomb injured eight people near Tel Aviv airport and Israeli gunfire on a funeral in Gaza killed a Palestinian teenager and wounded 14 others.

One day after a deadly suicide bombing near Tel Aviv, a stolen car exploded in the central Israeli town of Or Yehuda. Eight people were lightly hurt, police said.

Also, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy was killed by a gunshot to the head during a politically charged funeral in the Gaza Strip.

And an adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the Israeli leader has serious reservations about an Arab proposal for restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, but has not rejected it outright.

The Palestinians have endorsed the Jordanian-Egyptian plan. Visiting Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel discussed it Sunday with Israeli leaders, and was to meet Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the West Bank town of Ramallah. Belgium assumes the presidency of the European Union in July.

Sabre Rattling
Leader Calls For Uprising Against Israel
TEHRAN, Iran - A radical Palestinian leader said Monday that he hopes to win Muslim support for an armed intefadeh, or uprising, against Israel at a conference this week in Tehran.

The senior official of the radical Hamas movement, Moussa Abu Marzouk, is in Tehran for the conference organized by Iran to bring together anti-Israeli resistance groups.

Marzouk said he hoped to get support for the idea that an "armed intefadeh" was "the only option left for Palestinians to liberate their land and preserve their dignity."

"This intefadeh is not fighting only with stones, but a real armed intefadeh. Palestinian combatants expect support of other Muslim countries for their sacred cause," he said. "We hope this conference will also send a strong message to (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon that his policy of terror and violence to provide security for Israelis is doomed to failure." (AP)

Sharon's adviser, Raanan Gissin, said Israel was still studying the plan, and was told by Jordanian officials that they were willing to make modifications.

Gissin said Israel wants a clear-cut guarantee from the Palestinians that attacks on Israel will stop. Israel wants to conduct negotiations on a long-term interim agreement, not a full peace treaty, he said. The demand for a complete freezin settlement construction is "totally unacceptable," Gissin added.

A Palestinian group, the Popular Army Front, claimed responsibility for Sunday's attack.

"The Popular Army Front-Return Battalions...has carried out a qualitative attack on bus number 29 in Kfar Saba," it said in a statement faxed to news organizations.

The statement said the bombing fell near the anniversary of Israel's April 16, 1988 assassination in Tunis of Khalil al-Wazir, the Palestine Liberation Organisation's military chief, also known as Abu Jihad.

It said the bombing also was revenge for Israel's "land, air and sea assaults" against Palestinians, "sniper attacks and booby-trapped cars," as well as being a response to last week's air raid on a Syrian radar station in Lebanon.

Sharon accused the Palestinian leadership of not doing enough to prevent such attacks. But Palestinian Cabinet Minister Ziad Abu Zayyad says Israel is to blame.

"Unfortunately, the policy of the current government, the Israeli government, is encouraging extremism and violence," he said, "because they themselves are causing a lot of damage and casualties among Palestinian civilians."

Monday evening, with tears and cheers, relatives mourned and celebrated the death of a teen-age Palestinian suicide bomber who blew himself up Sunday.

The bomber, Imad Zubadi, was just 18 years old. A leaflet distributed by Hamas identified him as the man who set off explosives Sunday morning. The leaflet said Zubadi was the fourth Hamas suicide bomber to attack Israel, which is in the throes of a wave of bomb attacks.

As the body was being lowered into the ground at the Khan Yunis cemetery, next to a Jewish settlement, several dozen Palestinian gunmen fired 21 shots into the air as a sign of respect, said Eyad Saadoni, a math teacher who was present.

In response, bursts of gunfire came from the direction of the nearby settlement which is protected by an Israeli army post about 500 meters (yards) away, said Saadoni and other witnesses.

As gunshots rang out, Palestinian mourners scattered in panic, with women and children running barefoot through the sandy streets, many seeking shelter in abandoned buildings.

Moments later, wailing ambulances began taking the wounded Palestinians from the chaotic scene. A 12-year-old Palestinian boy, Muhanad Muhareb, was shot just above the left eye and died, and 11 Palestinians were wounded, including one who was in critical condition, according to doctors at Khan Yunis Hospital.

Mario Goldin, a 53-year-old Israeli doctor, was killed in Sunday's blast. Most of the 50 people wounded were only lightly injured, though a 14-year-old Israeli boy was badly hurt, a hospital said.

Two bombs went off last week in Kfar Saba, but no one was killed. The suburb is northeast of Tel Aviv, only a few miles from the Palestinian-controlled city of Kalkilya, in the West Bank. Israel had stepped up security in the area following the recent bombings.

Latr Sunday, an explosive device went off near a major northern intersection outside the port city of Haifa, slightly injuring three policemen. The device exploded while an officer was trying to defuse it. The police said the incident was politically motivated.

Israel has been rocked by repeated bombings carried out by militants since the Palestinian uprising began last fall. Sharon has pledged swift and harsh retaliation, and Israel has carried out several raids in recent weeks following mortar attacks by Palestinians.

To date, 478 people have been killed in the fighting, including 394 Palestinians, 65 Israeli Jews, and 19 others.

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