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At least seven dead in terror attack in Jerusalem

Sharon postpones meeting with Bush

The commuter bus was entering the city center at morning rush hour when the bomb was detonated.
The commuter bus was entering the city center at morning rush hour when the bomb was detonated.

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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- A suicide bombing on a Jerusalem commuter bus early Sunday morning killed at least seven people and wounded 26 others, Israeli police said.

Moments later, a second suicide bombing took place nearby in eastern Jerusalem, police said, but there were no other casualties apart from the bomber.

After the terror attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to postpone his trip to Washington, Sharon's senior adviser Ra'anan Gissin told CNN.

Sharon was scheduled to meet with President Bush on Tuesday. Because of the postponement, Sharon will attend the regularly scheduled Cabinet meeting at 6 p.m. (11 a.m. ET), his office said.

The suicide bomber got on the No. 6 commuter bus dressed as an orthodox Jew, wearing a prayer shawl, Israeli police spokesman Gil Kleiman told CNN.

The commuter bus was entering the center of Jerusalem from a suburb of eastern Jerusalem when the explosion happened just after 6 a.m. local time, Israeli police said.

Sunday is a working day in Israel; the blast happened as the early morning rush hour was beginning.

After the explosion, the accordion bus was stopped in the middle of the street in Jerusalem's French Hill neighborhood, upright and empty, its windows blown out.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Jonathan Peled said the second suicide bomber was apparently on his way to hit another target when he prematurely detonated.

"Luckily it resulted only in him being killed," Peled said.

The White House on Sunday condemned the suicide bombings and said it was working with Sharon's office to reschedule his visit to the United States.

"We condemn the attacks and send our condolences to the victims and their loved ones," said White House spokeswoman Ashley Snee.

Israeli forces gather at the bombing site in Hebron.
Israeli forces gather at the bombing site in Hebron.

The terror attacks were the latest in a string of violent incidents coming within hours of a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas in Jerusalem. (Full story)

A suicide bomber killed an Israeli couple early Saturday evening in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank town of Hebron, Israeli military officials said.

Early Sunday, soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces killed two armed Palestinians after they entered the Sha-ari Tikva settlement in the western part of the West Bank and began shooting at settlers, Israeli military sources said.

Two Israelis, including a security guard, were wounded, an Israeli medical relief group said.

In the Saturday attack, officials said a Palestinian man dressed as a Sabbath-observing Jew walked into a neighborhood of the Jewish settlement in Hebron.

Israel Defense Forces soldiers patrolling the area called for him to stop, and the man started running toward the Tomb of the Patriarchs, known to Palestinians as Ibrahimi Mosque.

Some Israeli settlers also chased the man who then detonated the explosives killing an Israeli man and his wife who had been heading to the tomb for prayers to mark the end of the Sabbath.

The woman, who was pregnant, was severely wounded in the blast and later died from her injuries, Israeli military sources said.

Izzedine al Qassam, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization Hamas, sent a leaflet to news agencies saying the bomber was one of its members. Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.

The attack came about an hour before the meeting between Sharon and Abbas.

On the Jewish Sabbath, Palestinians are required to stay in their homes to allow Jews safe passage to the tomb, a site considered holy by Muslims and Jews.

Israeli officials said they believe the bomber was heading toward the tomb before the chase.

The Israeli couple killed in Saturday's attack lived in the Jewish settlement of Kyriat Arba, outside Hebron, Israel officials said.

Hebron has long been a flash point of Jewish-Arab violence.

About 450 Jews, surrounded by 130,000 Palestinians, live in a settlement in the southern West Bank town. About 30,000 Palestinians living near Jewish enclaves are in Israeli-controlled areas and are frequently subject to curfews.

In November, Palestinian militants killed 12 Israeli soldiers and police in an ambush as they were walking from the tomb.

In 1994, Jewish settler Baruch Goldstein killed 29 Palestinians praying in a mosque adjacent to the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

-- CNN's Avit Dalgoshen contributed to this report.

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