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Bomb Explosion Kills Eleven in Northern Israel

An explosion ripped through a crowded bus in the northern Israeli coastal city of Haifa. Israeli TV says at least 11 people were killed and many more injured. VOA’S Sonja Pace has the latest from Jerusalem.

The blast was massive and initial television footage from the scene showed the wreckage of the smoldering bus with its roof torn off. Debris and bodies were strewn over the street as emergency personnel rushed to the scene.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office blamed Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for the attack, but Mr. Arafat has rejected that accusation. Another Palestinian cabinet minister also condemned the Haifa bombing, saying such attacks distract attention from the many Palestinian civilians killed in Israeli security operations.

Palestinian militants have carried out numerous attacks and suicide bombings against Israeli targets since their uprising against Israeli occupation began two and a half years ago.

This was the first such attack in two months. In early January a suicide bomber killed more than 20 people in Tel Aviv.