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CNN Today

Car Bombing Kills Two in Jerusalem

Aired November 2, 2000 - 2:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: We begin in Jerusalem, the scene of more deadly violence today. A car bombing has killed two people near an outdoor market. Israeli police say the victims were Jewish bystanders.

More now from CNN's Fionnuala Sweeney in Jerusalem.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The bomb exploded shortly after 3:00 in the afternoon in the center of Jerusalem. Police say they became suspicious of a car traveling near the popular Mahane Yehuda market and began chasing it. The car turned into a side street where the explosion happened.

Initial reports say two people, a man and a woman, died in the blast, and nine others were likely injured. Police say both of the dead were Israelis.

In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak condemned the bombing, laying the blame firmly at the door of Islamic militants. Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh said the attack was either the work of Hamas or Islamic Jihad. The two have carried out previous attacks in Israel in which scores of people of died. Sneh laid ultimate responsibility for the blast on the Palestinian Authority. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has freed many militants of the two groups from jail during the past five weeks of clashes.

EPHRAIM SNEH, ISRAELI DEPUTY DEFENSE MINISTER: As long as the Palestinian Authority does not put them back in jail they will continue to try to derail any peace process by deadly terrorist operations.

SWEENEY: The Palestinians firmly rejected this, saying most of those released has been in jail for accusations against the Palestinian Authority, not Israel.

The blast came on a day when expectations had been high that some sort of breakthrough to ease the violence was imminent. A meeting in Gaza overnight between former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had resulted in an agreement to try and implement the understandings reached two weeks ago at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit on reducing the violence. Around the time the explosion occurred, both Israeli Prime Minister Barak and Palestinian leader Arafat had been due to issue statements. Yasser Arafat's statement called for calm, calling on Palestinians to observe peaceful protests.

Earlier in the day, there had been signs that the agreement had been having some effect on the ground, Palestinian police preventing demonstrators from reaching areas where previously there have been clashes with the Israelis. The Israelis, too, pulled tanks and armored vehicles away from flashpoints.

Fionnuala Sweeney, CNN, Jerusalem.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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