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PEACE BID HALTED BY GAZA STRIKES.

Byline: Mark Ellis

A TERRORIST bomb killed seven people and injured more than 70 in Jerusalem yesterday.

The attack came as it was claimed Palestinian militants came within hours of agreeing to end suicide bombings.

The blast at the Hebrew University was the second in two days after a month without attacks. Palestinian militants said they came within hours of agreeing to end all suicide bombings last week - just before an Israeli strike killed nine children.

They had allegedly prepared a peace declaration promising "to teach our children a new way" and to end "the rivers of blood".

But just hours before it was due to be unveiled, Israeli Prime Minsiter Ariel Sharon ordered an air strike on the Gaza home of Hamas chief Salah Shehedah.

It killed 15 people, including nine children.

A Palestinian official said the peace pledge was agreed by the Tanzim, the armed wing of the Fatah faction, the largest group of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation led by Yasser Arafat.

Jailed Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti, 43, who has been at the forefront of Palestinian uprisings since 1987, is said to have given his personal blessing to the ceasefire.

The militant Hamas and the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade are also said to have pledged support.

But yesterday Fatah official Hatem Abdel Qader in Jerusalem said: "We have gone back to zero and it will take weeks or months to recover.''
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 1, 2002
Words:232
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