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Car Blast Kills Two Palestinians

March 26, 2002

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JERUSALEM (AP) _ Israeli security forces thwarted a bombing at a Jerusalem mall Tuesday when a car that police ordered to stop during a security check exploded, killing two Palestinian inside, police said.

Acting on intelligence reports warning of an attack, dozens of police had surrounded Jerusalem’s Malha Mall in recent days.

The mall had not been attacked before by Palestinians, who have carried out strings of bombings and shootings in Israel in the past 18 months of violence, including in shopping areas. The mall had been crowded this week with shoppers preparing for the Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins at sundown Wednesday.

The car was headed from the outskirts of the West Bank town of Bethlehem toward southern Jerusalem when police spotted it, police spokesman Kobi Zariyahu said. Police ordered the car to stop . The car exploded, killing two passengers, Zariyahu said.

The mall is heavily guarded. Security men check the trunks of cars entering the parking lot and the bags of those shoppers entering the mall.

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