Israelis, Palestinians continue truce

Tuesday, October 2, 2001

JERUSALEM -- A car bomb exploded in a Jerusalem neighborhood on Monday, causing only minor injuries but leaving another crack in the latest Mideast cease-fire.

The truce has been marred by daily violence since it was formally declared last week, but Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and senior Palestinian officials Ahmed Qureia and Saeb Erekat met Monday in an attempt to keep it from unraveling. Both sides have blamed the other for the continuing unrest.

As part of the cease-fire agreement, the Israeli army pulled back tanks and eased military checkpoints around several West Bank towns, the military and Palestinians said.

The car bomb went off in a small parking lot in a residential neighborhood in southern Jerusalem around 9:15 a.m. Three bystanders were slightly hurt by glass shards, police said. The parking lot was across the road from a school, which was closed.

The militant Palestinian group Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the blast.

In a statement received by Western news agencies in Damascus, the group reiterated its refusal to honor the cease-fire. "We stress that there are no red lines that restrict our holy war and any Zionist in any part of Palestine is a target for our heroic operations," the statement said.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said the bombing would not derail truce talks.

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