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Suicide Bomb Rattles Jerusalem - 2001-09-04

A suicide bomber blew himself up Tuesday, as he detonated a bomb in the center of Jerusalem. At least 15 people were injured in the blast, which comes only one day after four separate explosions rocked the city. So far, no group has claimed responsibility.

Security officials say the suicide bomber was disguised as an Orthodox Jew. Two police officers approached the man who had raised the suspicion of bystanders because he appeared very nervous.

When the police agents told him to stop, he touched the sack he was carrying, detonating the bomb inside.

The bomb exploded not far from the ultra-Orthodox Jewish area of Mea Shearim. Remains of the suicide bomber were hurled by the blast into courtyard of a nearby French school just as children were arriving for morning classes.

The blast occurred near the Sbarro pizza restaurant, where an explosion last month killed 16 people.

Jerusalem's police chief describes the blast as extremely powerful. The explosion occurred during the morning rush hour.

Angry bystanders mobbed European Union envoy Javier Solana when he tried to visit the site hours after the blast. Mr. Solana is in Israel trying to work out details for a meeting later in the week between Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Israeli officials say the most that could come out of such a meeting would be discussions about a cease fire to try to curb the violence.

The explosion Tuesday morning follows four other bomb blasts, which shook Jerusalem the day before, injuring half a dozen people. The military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine had claimed responsibility for those attacks.