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Hamas claims responsibility for bus bomb attack in Tel Aviv where 13 were wounded

White House hopes Egypt's Hosni Mubarak will promote peace accord; Palestinians want clarifications of Clinton's peace proposal

The Hamas organization claims responsibility for the bomb attack on a Tel Aviv bus Thursday noon.

Thirteen people were wounded in two explosions at around 12:40 today on a bus in central Tel Aviv.

Hamas announced that the attack was retaliation for Israeli aggression and that the continuation of the


proves the Palestinians will not give up on their rights.

On Wednesday the Hamas threatened to carry out terrorist attacks in Israel.

Thirteen people were wounded and four are in critical condition after two pipe bombs exploded inside a No. 51 bus run by the Dan bus cooperative, en route from the Tel Aviv central bus station to Petah Tikvah. The first bomb blew up at 12:50, the second a few minutes later. All the casualties were sitting at the back of the bus.

Police say that one of the bombs malfunctioned. The bus was not badly damaged.

Tel Aviv mayor Rob Huldai visited the site and called on the residents of Tel Aviv to behave with restraint. But a small demonstration developed, in which some ten people gathered calling "Death to Arabs" and "Ehud go home". Some brandished signs saying, "This peace will kill us."

Prime Minister Ehud Barak condemned the attacks but added that they would not deter Israel from pursuing peace via negotiations. The government is waiting to hear the results of a meeting between Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat and Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

Police add that one bomb did not explode properly. They suspect it may have been detonated remotely via cellular phone.

Channel 2 TV adds: Palestinian sources condemned the attack, but not for the record at this point.

The emergency telephone number at Ichilov Hospital is 12-55-133.

White Houses hopes Egypt will brandish whip

The despicable attack will not touch our determination to bring real security through an end to conflict and bloodshed in the region," Prime Minister Ehud Barak commented on the terrorist attack in Tel Aviv.

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Shortly thereafter, a meeting between Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat ended. The two leaders discussed Palestinian objections to United States President Bill Clinton's peace offer.

The chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said today the Palestinians demand clarifications on all issues in Clinton's offer. Erekat said Palestinians demand full clarity, exact details and detailed maps. He said the American policy of unclarity could wind up hurting the Palestinian cause.

The Mubarak-Arafat meeting took place today after a summit supposed to take place in Sharm El-Sheikh was put off following the Palestinian rejection of the American offer.

In a phone call between Barak and Mubarak tonight it was concluded that after the Egyptian leader's meeting with Arafat, it would be decided whether to hold the summit tomorrow.

The White House expects Mubarak to encourage Arafat to continue negotiations. An Arafat announcement to the White House saying he is willing to continue negotiations would be interpreted in Washington as meaning he has got a green light from Arab leaders to make far reaching concessions, according to the Arab point of view.

Nine attacks on buses since the Oslo accords

There have been nine other terrorist attacks on Israeli buses since the Oslo accords were signed on July 13, 1993:

April 6, 1994: A suicide bomber blew himself up next to two buses at the central bus station of Afula. Eight people were killed.

October 19, 1994: Bus #5 in Tel Aviv. 23 people were killed and 34 wounded.

December 25, 1994: A suicide bomber exploded next to a bus carrying soldiers in Jerusalem, 13 were wounded.

June 14, 1995: Bus #20 blew up outside the diamond exchange in Ramat Gan. Six people were killed and 31 wounded.

August 21, 1995: Bus #26 explodes in Ramot Eshkol, Jerusalem. Five people are klled and more than 100 injured.

February 25, 1996: Bus #18 is blown up on Jaffa Street, central Jerusalem. 23 are killed and 48 wounded.

March 3, 1996: Another bus #18 is attacked on Jaffa Street, central Jerusalem. 18 are killed.

November 20, 2000: A school-bus is attacked in Kfar Darom, Gaza Strip. Two are killed and nine wounded.

November 22, 2000: A car-bomb explodes next to a bus on Sderot Hanassie, Hadera. Two poeople are killed and 61 wounded.