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At Least 6 Killed in Jerusalem Suicide Bombing - 2003-09-09

A suicide bombing has rocked a café in Jerusalem late Tuesday, killing at least six people and injuring some 40 others. The attack comes just hours after a suicide bombing near Tel Aviv killed at least 13 people and injured 15 others. The militant group Hamas has claimed responsibility for the bombings.

The explosion occurred around 11:30 p.m. local time in a trendy residential neighborhood, known as the German Colony, in the western part of the city. It's an area with many cafes and small shops.

The sound of sirens pierced the night sky as ambulances rushed to the scene. The bomb went off outside the Hillel café at a time when the area would have been packed with people. Witnesses said a security guard prevented the bomber from entering inside the café.

Just hours earlier, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a bus stop outside a military base near Tel Aviv.

Jerusalem in particular had been on a high security alert all day. Checkpoints were put up around the city and police said they had information of specific security threats.

Violence has increased in recent weeks since a suicide bombing in Jerusalem in mid-August, carried out by the militant group Hamas. Israel has since then carried out a number of missile strikes against Hamas leaders and each side has declared all out war against the other.

The twin attacks come as Palestinian parliamentary speaker, Ahmed Qureia decides whether to take on the position of new Palestinian prime minister to try to get a flailing peace process back on track.

Mr. Qureia wants assurances of support from the international community and changes in Israeli policies towards the Palestinians before he agrees to take the position. Israel has made it clear it wants any new Palestinian government to tackle the problem of terrorism to halt attacks like the ones that occurred within hours of each other this Tuesday and to dismantle the organizations carrying them out.