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Explosion Rocks Tel Aviv

BY Admin  June 1, 2001 at 6:15 PM EST

The bomber was apparently standing in line to enter a disco in Tel Aviv’s crowded entertainment district, Israeli officials said.

At least 60 people were injured, several of them seriously, officials said. Thirty ambulances raced to the scene of the blast, which occurred about 11 p.m. local time, as hundreds of young people were gathered in cafes and restaurants along the beach.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast.

Islamic militants have launched a series of suicide attacks against Israeli targets in recent weeks, killing and wounding soldiers and civilians.

Husseini buried

The latest violence came at the end of a tense but peaceful day, as tens of thousands of Palestinians filed through the streets of Jerusalem to bury a longtime leader, Faisal Husseini.

Israeli police stood aside as youths raised Palestinian flags over Jerusalem’s Old City and outside Israeli government buildings as the flag-draped coffin was carried through the city that Husseini had hoped to make the Palestinian capital.

Police were out in force but made little effort to dampen what Palestinians said was their biggest display of nationalist fervor inside Jerusalem since Israel annexed the Arab eastern section of the city in 1967.

Palestinian youths briefly stoned an empty Israeli police post in the shrine compound, attacked a house in the Old City belonging to Prime Minister Sharon and smashed security cameras.

Four Palestinians were taken to hospital after a Jewish tourist fired tear gas at them. Israeli police later found remains of an explosive device in the town of Mevasseret, west of Jersualem. There was no damage.

Witnesses said Jewish settlers set fire to Palestinian-owned olive trees and fields south of the West Bank town of Nablus and that several Palestinians were hospitalized. Earlier, the Israeli army said Palestinians fired four mortar bombs at a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip. There were no casualties.

Husseini, a top PLO official who played a leading role in launching the peace process with Israel and a longtime campaigner for Palestinian claims in Jerusalem, died Thursday of a heart attack in Kuwait. He was 60.

“If there was a Palestinian person with whom it was possible to achieve a common language, it was Faisal Husseini,” said Meron Benvenisti, an Israeli writer and former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, in an interview with The New York Times. “The idea of peace, the hope for peace, has been dealt a heavy blow.”

Experts on both sides said Husseini’s death could weaken the dwindling ranks of Palestinian pragmatists who still support dialogue with Israel after eight months of uprising against Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.