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Car Bomb Injures 20 in Israeli Coastal City

Aired January 1, 2001 - 2:06 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: Well, back to the crisis in the Middle East: About two hours ago, three large explosions rocked a busy shopping area in the Israeli coastal resort town called Netanya. There have been casualties. And the blasts follow two high-profile killings over the weekend.

CNN Jerusalem bureau chief Mike Hanna joins us now with the latest -- Mike.

MIKE HANNA, CNN JERUSALEM BUREAU CHIEF: Natalie, Israeli police have confirmed that the explosives were placed in a car in a main road through the resort town of Netanya, some 20 miles north of Tel Aviv. The fire chief of the town says there were three explosions in quick succession.

A large amount of damage has been caused to shops in the vicinity of the car in which the explosives were placed. Hospital sources say that 20 people have been injured; 19 of them have been treated for light injuries, according to the authorities. One person is reported to be in a critical condition. Police are examining the possibility that the person who has been seriously injured may have been connected with the bombing itself.

So, at this stage, we understand 20 people have been injured in a car-bomb attack in the resort down of Netanya. The Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak convened a meeting of his security cabinet. That has ended. There's been no details revealed as to what was discussed or what was decided at that cabinet meeting. We understand, too, that shortly afterwards, Mr. Barak convened a meeting if his peace cabinet -- that is, ministers who have been involved in the peace-negotiations process -- no details as to that meeting either.

However, we have reports from the Palestinian territories that Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat has been in telephone contact with President Clinton in recent hours, and that he is considering whether to accept the latest proposals advanced by President Clinton as a basis for negotiations. Israel has said that it will accept these proposals if the Palestinian Authority does likewise -- but the ongoing violence, the ongoing conflict placing an immense amount of strain on attempts to resuscitate a long-dormant peace process.

Other violence in the course of this day: two Palestinian police officers killed overnight. Israelis say they were killed in an exchange of gunfire between Israeli forces and Palestinians. A 12- year-old Palestinian boy died of wounds sustained earlier in the week. And a Palestinian man was shot by -- Palestinians say -- a drive-by attack by Jewish settlers in the West Bank -- so much violence -- but at this stage, still contemplating whether or not to accept the U.S. proposals -- Natalie.

ALLEN: All right, Mike Hanna, we thank you, live from Jerusalem.

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