Security Tightened After Bombing

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JERUSALEM: One day after two bomb blasts wounded 13 Israelis in Tel Aviv, Israeli police were out in force at the Jerusalem mosques where Muslims will gather in prayer today for the first day of the holy month of Ramadan. Expecting tens of thousands of Muslims, several thousand wary police searched cars, checked identification, and closed streets. The troops also upped enforcement at a long-standing security closure that bars Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip from entering Israel, keeping many from visiting the mosques. The bombs, believed to be loaded with nails, exploded in a pedestrian walkway near an abandoned bus station, about a mile from the Defense Ministry, where Benjamin Netanyahu was meeting with U.S. envoy Dennis Ross in an effort wrap up the stalled Hebron agreement. Netanyahu, who left the meeting after being informed of the blasts, promised to "wage war against the terrorists," adding that if it turns out the assailants came from the autonomous Palestinian areas, Israel will not "carry on as though nothing had happened." No group has claimed responsibility; three suspects arrested last night were released. Some, including Palestinian officials, accused the militant Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. But TIME's Jamil Hamad speculated otherwise. "The style of the Popular Front is more one of machine guns, not pipe bombs in garbage cans," he said. "This seems more like Islamic methods, the work of a group like Hamas, or the Jihad." U.S. envoy Dennis Ross has decided to remain in the region to meet with Arafat upon his return from Paris Saturday. And until the identity of the bombers is definitively known, Hamad says, the Hebron talks should not be affected. "Simply put, the negotiations are in a serious enough predicament as it is."