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Israel Agents Wounded in Suicide Bomb Attack - 2002-01-30

A Palestinian suicide bomber is dead and two Israelis injured after an explosion north of Tel Aviv. Police say a Palestinian man set off a powerful explosive charge next to a parked vehicle, killing himself and wounding Israelis who were 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.

Israeli media reported the Palestinian man was an informer for Israel's internal security service.

A statement from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office says the injured agents were on a mission when they were attacked and that further details of the incident are being investigated.

Israeli police have been on high 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 elderly Israeli man.

Last week, a Palestinian gunman opened fire on the same street, killing two people before being shot dead by police.

Israeli leaders are currently discussing a plan designed to protect Jerusalem from additional attacks by Palestinian militants from the West Bank.

The plan reportedly includes new roadblocks, special traffic routes, video cameras and hundreds of additional police.

Israel's Public Security Minister Uzi Landau says the proposal is only part of the effort to crackdown on Palestinian militants. "This is only a prototype for one of the elements of combating terrorism. This is the defensive part of it. What you need to complement it with is the entire offensive part; that is, chase them all the time, an ongoing onslaught."

Mr. Landau denied media reports that a wall will be built in the city.

Such a concept is politically sensitive in Israel, since it annexed East Jerusalem shortly after capturing it in the 1967 Middle East war.

Israel says the entire city is its capital, a claim not recognized by most nations.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their proposed future state.

Palestinian officials say constructing any barriers between traditionally Arab East Jerusalem and the mostly Jewish western section of the city would increase tensions.