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Suicide Bomber Kills 2 Near Tel Aviv


A suicide bomber has blown himself up in a shopping center near Tel Aviv, killing two other people and injuring 30 more.

The blast occurred at 6:15 p.m. local time, near an electronics store at a shopping mall in Kfar Saba. The Palestinian extremist group Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility and identified the bomber as a resident of a West Bank refugee camp.

Just last Friday, the international human rights group Human Rights Watch issued a report characterizing attacks on Israeli civilians as war crimes. Palestinian leaders rejected the conclusions of the report, saying the cause of the violence in Israel is the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.

Monday's bombing comes after Palestinian officials blamed Israel for at least seven Palestinian deaths since Sunday night.

In one incident, Palestinian officials say, an Israeli aircraft flying overhead detonated a bomb inside a vehicle in the West Bank city of Nablus, killing two Palestinians, including a member of the Hamas military wing on Israel's wanted list.

Since Sunday night, five Palestinians have been reported shot dead by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip. Three of the dead were killed in an incident on the border between Israel and the occupied territory. The other two men were killed in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah. No weapons were found on any of the victims.

On Monday, the human rights group, Amnesty International, issued a report accusing Israel of war crimes during its West Bank offensive last April in Jenin and Nablus. The Israeli military rejected the report's findings, saying it was acting in self-defense in response to Palestinian attacks on civilians.

Monday's explosion occurred as Israel's parliament was debating the appointment of former hard-line army chief Shaul Mofaz as the next defense minister. His nomination was approved.

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