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Israel Car Blast Kills One

Aired August 5, 2002 - 11:59   ET

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


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We begin this hour with the news of a deadly car blast in northern Israel. At least one person was killed and another wounded. Police say the victims may have been on their way to carry out an attack.
This comes after a weekend of violence and retaliation in the Mideast.

We go to CNN's John Vause, in Jerusalem, for the latest now -- John.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hi, Kyra, that blast happening within the last hour or so. It happened about 80 miles north of here, Jerusalem, near the town of Hadera, very close to the West Bank. What happened, we understand, is that the car exploded. We are not sure whether the car was rigged to explode or whether it was in fact a suicide bomber on his way to carrying out an attack. The passenger of that car was killed and the driver was injured. We are not too sure of his condition, but we are told that the car, which was stolen from the town of Netanya, was, in fact, blown apart.

And this comes, as you say, after a spate of deadly attacks here in Israel over the last 24 hours: 11 dead, 80 wounded after a number of attacks. Of course, the most deadly on that bus -- that bus attack 30 miles away from this latest car explosion.

In response to that spate of attacks in Israel, the government here has announced a crackdown on a number of West Bank towns: Jenin, Tulkarem, Qalqilya, Nablus, and Ramallah. According to the Israeli government here, they say no one gets in and no one gets out of those West Bank towns. The other reason will be for medical or humanitarian reasons.

So the mere fact that this crackdown is now in place in those West Bank towns and this car did manage to get through that security net would, obviously, have to be quite a concern to the authorities here in Israel -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: John, meanwhile, the search for militants and for bomb factories, does that continue in other areas?

VAUSE: Absolutely, that search goes on, in fact, the announcement coming today from the Israeli government that they believe they arrested the Hamas leader, the commander, who that sent the suicide bomber onto that bus near (UNINTELLIGIBLE) yesterday that left nine people dead and more than 40 or close to 50 people injured. They believe they have captured the commander responsible for sending the suicide bomber onto the bus.

And in fact, the operations in most West Bank towns continue. The Israeli government's -- are looking for and the -- dismantling the terror network that is in place in the West Bank -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: John, also I understand that there were meetings planned with newly appointed Palestinian leaders. All that is happening in the Middle East, is that going to be pushed?

VAUSE: It may be delayed, but they are certainly going to continue with these meetings. That is the word that is coming out from both sides. They are very keen to -- at least accord to go the Israeli government -- to try to ease the conditions, at least for the Palestinians, try to work out a way that they can have some kind of system where Palestinians, the vast majority of Palestinians, are not suffering in their homes under a 24-hour curfew, and where Israel can feel safe, where they can have a secure situation where they are not being attacked with suicide bombers and terrorists, and so that Palestinians on the West Bank can actually go about living their normal daily lives and are not being penalized for these terrorist attacks that continue to happen here almost daily. So those talks are continuing despite that spate of attacks. So there is, I guess, still a glimmer of hope that they can work something out.

PHILLIPS: John Vause, thank you so much.

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