Israelis kill suspected mastermind of Tel Aviv bombing

Wednesday, August 7, 2002

JERUSALEM -- Israeli troops killed the suspected mastermind of a Tel Aviv suicide bombing on Tuesday, while U.S. diplomats said the United States was considering moving consular offices out of traditionally Arab east Jerusalem due to security concerns.

The forces caught up to the suspect and another militiaman in a firefight near the northern West Bank town of Jenin, residents said.

Both men were members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a militia linked to Arafat's Fatah movement. One was Ali Ajouri, 23, accused by Israel of sending two suicide bombers who blew themselves up in Tel Aviv on July 17. Three foreign workers and two Israelis were killed in the attack.

The Israeli military said troops encountered the two wanted men in Jabaa village and killed them in a chase.

The United States, meanwhile, was considering moving its consulate in east Jerusalem, which serves the Palestinian population in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A second U.S. consulate is located in the western part of the city.

The east Jerusalem consulate near the walled Old City does not meet security criteria since it is not set back from the road, said Jessica Davies, a spokeswoman for the U.S. consulate. Certain properties for a new site in the city have been considered but nothing has been finalized, Davies said.

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