- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 18, 2002

TEL AVIV Two bombers blew themselves up seconds apart in downtown Tel Aviv last night, killing three civilians and wounding more than 40, police and witnesses said.
The attacks occurred between a cafe and a theater in a rundown neighborhood where many foreign workers live, and Israeli radio said most of the casualties were from abroad.
The Islamic Jihad group took responsibility for the bombings, according to the Al Manar TV station in Lebanon. Israel blamed Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority.
The suicide bombers were standing only 15 to 20 yards from each other when they set off the explosions in an area crowded with small shops and stalls, police said.
Dutzu Raduyan, a worker from Romania, said he heard an explosion, and the lights in his nearby apartment went out.
"Moments later, we heard the second explosion. I went down" to the street, he said. "It was horrible. The injured were screaming. I've never seen such a thing in my life." He said he will take his family back to Romania.
About 300,000 foreigners work in Israel, replacing to a large extent the Palestinian laborers who have been barred from entering the country since the outbreak of fighting.
With Israel's economy in a slump, employers welcome the migrant workers, most of whom are in the country illegally and are willing to work long hours for less than minimum wage.
Earlier yesterday, an Israeli warplane bombed a metal workshop in the Gaza Strip, while in the West Bank, Israeli forces swept through Palestinian areas, arresting a senior Hamas militant and killing three Palestinians.
The Israeli F-16 warplane bombed the factory after nightfall yesterday, witnesses and the Israeli military said. The Israelis said the factory was used to manufacture weapons for the violent Islamic Hamas group. The facility was at the entrance to the Mughazi refugee camp in central Gaza.
In the Amari refugee camp next to Ramallah in the West Bank, two Palestinian boys, ages 6 and 14, were killed in an explosion. Palestinian security officials said they picked up an explosive, and it went off.
Near Qalqiliya, Israeli soldiers spotted two Palestinians trying to infiltrate Israel. They shot and killed one of the two and started searching for the other, Israeli military sources said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
In a manhunt for Palestinians who ambushed a bus near the Jewish settlement of Emmanuel a day before and killed eight persons, including two babies, Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian gunman in an exchange of fire. An Israeli army officer was killed in the exchange, and three soldiers were wounded. After nightfall yesterday, the search was still in progress.
In Ramallah, Israeli forces arrested the overall commander of the Hamas military wing, Mohammed Natsheh, Israeli media reported.
Israeli forces in armored vehicles entered the West Bank village of Silat Dahir, near the town of Jenin, exchanging fire with militants and making arrests. Palestinians said two men were killed.
Meanwhile, Israelis buried five of the eight killed in the ambush near Emmanuel, between the Palestinian towns of Nablus and Qalqiliya. In that attack, Palestinians set off a powerful bomb, stopping an armored bus, and opened fire on the passengers and threw grenades. Among the dead were an 8-month-old baby and her father and grandmother.
Doctors desperately tried to save Yehudit Weinberg's baby but failed. Eight months pregnant, she was shot seven times in the abdomen and legs. Doctors delivered her baby by emergency Caesarean section, but he had no pulse because of his mother's loss of blood, doctors said. He died a few hours later.
The renewed violence came as Mr. Arafat was considering appointing a prime minister to take over daily affairs, a Palestinian Cabinet minister said, in response to Israeli and U.S. demands that Mr. Arafat be replaced.
The minister, Nabil Shaath, said the Palestinian leader was considering making such an appointment after Palestinian elections next year and after the creation of a Palestinian state.
Israel and the United States have declared a personal boycott of Mr. Arafat, charging that his regime is tainted with terrorism and corruption. Israel has suggested that he remain as a ceremonial president while turning power over to others. U.S. officials also were positive about Mr. Arafat's idea about a prime minister.


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