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Palestinian Suicide Bomber Wounds 30 in Netanya, Israel

A Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up Sunday outside a café in Israel, wounding up to 30 people.

The attack came at lunchtime in a crowded pedestrian mall of Netanya, a coastal town north of Tel Aviv.

Security men had prevented the attacker from entering a small café, which was packed with about 50 customers. The bomber then set off the explosion outside. One eyewitness said he heard a loud blast, and then saw the body of the bomber lying in pieces.

David Baker, an official in the office of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon condemned the attack.

He said Palestinian terror had again struck innocent Israelis, adding that Palestinian terrorism "continues unabated."

Palestinian Cabinet Minister Saeb Erekat, distanced himself from the attack. He said the Palestinian leadership "condemns" the targeting of all civilians, whether Palestinian or Israeli.

He called on the international community to help stop the violence and revive peace talks.

It was the first suicide bombing since March 5, when a bus in Haifa was attacked.

Israeli police said they had been on alert for a new wave of Palestinian attacks because of increased tensions in the region following the start of the U.S.-led military offensive against Iraq.

The group Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sunday also marked Land Day, an annual day of marches and demonstrations by Israel's Arab citizens. The day is held in memory of six Israeli Arabs killed during rioting to protest land confiscations in 1976.