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Palestinian Suicide Bomber Wounds 2 Israelis - 2002-01-30

A Palestinian suicide bomber has wounded two Israelis identified as members of the Shin Bet security service.

The blast went off near the Israeli Arab town of Taibeh, which is north of Tel Aviv near the West Bank.

The bomber was identified as an informer for Israel's internal security service who apparently lured the two agents to a rendezvous point before setting off the explosion.

A statement from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office has said the men were on an operational mission when they were attacked.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction and the militant Islamic Jihad group both claimed responsibility for the blast.

Israeli police have been on alert since a bomb exploded on a main shopping street in Jerusalem earlier this week, killing a Palestinian woman who was carrying the explosives and an Israeli man.

Family members identified the woman as Wafa Idris, a volunteer paramedic who lived in a refugee camp with her mother in the West Bank city of Ramallah. A statement from a Palestinian militant group identified her as a martyr.

Her family described her as cheerful, with no overt ties to any militant groups. They say while working as a paramedic she was hit several times by rubber bullets fired by Israeli soldiers.

They could not explain how she obtained the explosives for the bombing.

The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, an armed wing of Mr. Arafat's Fatah faction, claimed responsibility for the Jerusalem attack. The group said the woman carried out the bombing in retaliation for Israeli military actions against Palestinians.

Israeli police say they do not know whether the woman blew herself up intentionally or planned to plant the bomb and leave the scene.

If she did kill herself deliberately she would be the first female Palestinian suicide bomber since the current conflict erupted 16 months ago.