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8 Die in New Palestinian Attack

December 12, 2001

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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) _ Palestinians attacked an Israeli bus in the West Bank and set off explosions near Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip in near simultaneous attacks Wednesday. The army said eight people were killed in the bus attack.

At least 30 people were wounded in the two attacks, paramedics and the army said.

The attack on the bus took place after nightfall Wednesday, at about 6 p.m., as the bus was on a winding uphill road approaching the Jewish settlement of Emmanuel in the West Bank, about 25 miles north of Jerusalem.

Capt. Jacob Dallal, an Israeli army spokesman, said an explosion caused by either a suicide bomber or a roadside bomb forced the bus to stop. Gunmen then opened fire from surrounding hills, both on the bus and on rescue crews that rushed to the scene in the darkness.

Dallal said eight people were killed and between 25 and 30 were injured in the attack.

At virtually the same time, two suicide bombers blew themselves up near the Gush Katif settlement bloc in the Gaza Strip, wounding several people, the army and TV reports said. The assailants jumped on a car leaving the Ganei Tal settlement and detonated the explosives, TV reports said. The passengers in the car escaped with minor injuries but the assailants were killed, the reports said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either attack.

Violence continued throughout the day despite a U.S. peace envoy’s call for 48 hours of calm. Israeli helicopter gunships attacked a Palestinian refugee camp Wednesday morning in response to mortar fire on nearby Jewish settlements. Four Palestinian militiamen were killed and 20 bystanders wounded in the air strike.

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