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Annan Calls on Israelis, Palestinians to Return to Peace Process - 2003-09-10


U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has called for Israel and the Palestinians to stop the cycle of violence and return to the peace process. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said he was concerned by the escalating violence between Israel and the Palestinians during the past 24 hours.

He said the only way to settle disputes is through dialogue, and expressed hope that both sides will exercise restraint.

Earlier, Israeli warplanes bombed the home of senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar in Gaza, injuring him and killing his eldest son and others.

Analysts say the attack marks the first time Israel has targeted a Hamas leader in his home. They suggest this signals a toughening of Israel's campaign against the Islamic militant group.

Israel says it is responding to Tuesday's twin suicide bombings, which killed 15 people. The first explosion claimed the lives of eight soldiers at a crowded bus stop near Tel Aviv. The second blast killed seven people at a popular Jerusalem café. Dozens of bystanders were wounded in the bombing.

Mr. Annan, who is in Geneva to attend a meeting of the foreign ministers of key Security Council members Saturday, has called for Israel and the Palestinians to return to the implementation of the "road map" for peace, which he says is the only path to a final settlement of the dispute.

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