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Car Bomb Explosion Kills Palestinian Driver, Israeli Policeman - 2002-02-18

A Palestinian set off a car bomb at a checkpoint near Jerusalem, killing himself and an Israeli policeman. It was the second such attack in as many days and came as suspected Palestinians militants also ambushed a convoy of Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip, killing at least one woman and wounding two soldiers.

An Israeli police unit spotted a car heading toward Jerusalem, not far from the Jewish settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim in the West Bank.

The officers pursued the vehicle until it pulled to a stop and the driver attempted to escape on foot in the direction of a Palestinian village.

The Israeli police reportedly apprehended the suspect who detonated explosives inside the car, apparently with a remote-control device.

The Israeli Government says that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is responsible for the attack, claiming that he is encouraging Palestinian militants to launch a new wave of terrorist strikes against the Jewish State.

Meanwhile, suspected Palestinians militants opened fire on a convoy of Israelis heading toward a Jewish settlement in the southern Gaza Strip.

Israeli Government spokesman, Aryeh Mekel, says that the Palestinian leadership will reap the consequences of its actions. "The Palestinians are continuing with their scheme of confrontation, deterioration, and escalation and all this adds up to a very volatile situation, in which they are really playing with fire," he said.

Israel's police commissioner, Shlomo Aharonishky, says that while his forces have foiled several terrorist attacks in recent days, police could not be expected to keep up this level of vigilance indefinitely.

He says that without a physical barrier any potential attacker could enter Israel from the West Bank.