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Female Suicide Bomber Attacks Jerusalem Market - 2002-03-29

A female suicide bomber has blown herself up at a supermarket in a southern Jerusalem neighborhood. Two people were killed, and at least 24 people were injured. Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant group linked to Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, has claimed responsibility. Israeli police also have clashed with rock-throwing Palestinians at the Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City.

The explosion at the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood supermarket caught Israeli shoppers as they were stocking up for the weekend.

This is the second suicide bombing inside Israel since the start of the Passover holiday. On Wednesday, a suicide bomber killed 21 people in the seaside resort of Netanya as they were about to celebrate the ritual first dinner of the Passover holiday.

Elsewhere in Jerusalem, Israeli police stormed the hilltop Muslim holy site, the Haram al-Sharif, after Palestinian youngsters lobbed rocks at Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall below. Police used tear gas to break up the crowd of angry youths.

The clashes at the disputed holy site come 18 months after Ariel Sharon's controversial visit there. At the time, Mr. Sharon was leader of the political opposition. His action sparked a wave of violence that has claimed more than 1,300 people since then - most of them Palestinians.

The violence in Jerusalem also comes only hours after Israeli tanks rolled into the West Bank town of Ramallah and fired into Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's office compound there. Heavy fighting is reported there. Prime Minister Sharon ordered the military actions, he says, to isolate Mr. Arafat after declaring him an enemy.

A short time later, the militant Islamist group Hamas announced that several radical Palestinian groups are unifying their attacks against Israel. Hamas has claimed responsibility for several operations inside Israel, including the suicide bombing in Netanya.

And Palestinian radio reports that Mr. Arafat's Fatah faction now has issued a statement calling on all activists to take their fight into Israel.