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Bus blast kills at least 16 in Haifa, Israel

Witnesses said the bomber calmly boarded the bus before setting off an explosion.
Witnesses said the bomber calmly boarded the bus before setting off an explosion.  

HAIFA, Israel (CNN) -- A powerful bomb ripped through a bus in the Israeli port city of Haifa around midday Sunday, police said, killing at least 16 people, including a suicide bomber, and injuring about 35 others.

The suicide bomber detonated the explosion on the bus shortly after noon at a busy intersection in downtown Haifa, police said. The bombing happened 12 hours after a series of three deadly terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. The blast caused the bus to explode in a fireball and careen into a second bus.

Police said a man calmly boarded the bus, paid his fare and seconds later ignited the explosion that sent the bus lurching across the road.

Jerusalem terrorist attacks claim at least 12 dead 

Both Israeli and Palestinian representatives condemned the attack as "outrageous" and "brutal."

A coordinated series of three terrorist attacks Saturday night in a crowded Jerusalem pedestrian mall left at least 12 people dead -- including two suicide bombers -- and wounded more than 180 others, police said.

A bomb in a parked car nearby exploded minutes after the suicide bombings. Police said it was intended to kill emergency workers tending casualties.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat condemns the attacks "in the strongest possible terms."

U.S. President Bush said he was "horrified and saddened" to learn of the attacks.

"I strongly condemn them as acts of murder that no person of conscience can tolerate and no cause can ever justify," Bush said. "Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority must immediately find and arrest those responsible for these hideous murders. They must also act swiftly and decisively against the organizations that support them.

"Now more than ever, Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority must demonstrate through their actions and not merely their words their commitment to fight terror," the president said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Jerusalem attacks; however, a call in Arabic was placed to the Jerusalem bureau of the BBC. The caller identified himself as being from the Islamic Jihad and said the group was behind the Jerusalem bombings. But a Web site claiming to represent the radical Islamic group Hamas said it was responsible for the Jerusalem and Haifa attacks.


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