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Car Bombing May Have Targeted Center of Jerusalem - 2002-04-01

A car bomb on the edge of East Jerusalem killed the suspected suicide bomber and injured several other people. Police are checking whether the man who died was a suicide bomber or was only transporting explosives. The attack in Jerusalem is the sixth bombing in as many days and comes as Israel expands its military operations in the West Bank.

An Israeli policeman was seriously injured when he stopped the vehicle and opened the door to inspect it. The Palestinian man inside the car was killed.

The explosion occurred on the corner of a highway that divides East and West Jerusalem, a few hundred meters from Jerusalem's historic Old City. There were few pedestrians in the area at the time.

In recent months, security checkpoints have been increased along the road, which also borders an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood. A police spokesman says the security check may have prevented another deadly explosion in the heart of the city.

A suicide bombing 10 days ago on one of Jerusalem's busiest shopping streets killed two and injured more than 20 others. Last Friday a teenage Palestinian woman from Bethlehem blew herself up in front of a supermarket in a southern Jerusalem neighborhood.

Since Friday suicide bombers also have hit in Tel Aviv, Haifa and a Jewish settlement on the West Bank. More than 40 people have died in the separate incidents.

The most recent terrorist attacks have come after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Friday launched a massive military campaign against the Palestinians. Tanks and troops have rolled into several West Bank towns from Ramallah, on the edge of Jerusalem, to Tulkarem in the northern West Bank.

Israeli troops and tanks also continue to surround Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Ramallah headquarters, turning him into a virtual prisoner in his offices.