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Suicide Bomber Strikes Near Border

June 17, 2002

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JERUSALEM (AP) _ A Palestinian suicide bomber detonated explosives near a group of Israeli border police on Monday, killing himself but not injuring anyone else, a police spokesman said.

The explosion took place near the Israeli Arab village of Marja, close to the border with the West Bank, police spokesman Gil Kleiman said.

Border police saw the bomber approaching and were suspicious of him, Kleiman said. As they approached him, he set off the explosives, damaging the police patrol vehicle but not injuring any officers.

The incident occurred one day after Israel began construction of a fence along the West Bank border aimed at preventing suicide bombers from entering Israel.

Israeli settlers in the West Bank and their political supporters say the fence is a prelude to an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said the fence has no political significance and is intended only to save Israeli lives.

Hundreds of Israelis have been killed in recent years in Palestinian suicide bomb attacks.

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