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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Suicide Bombers Strike at Israelis

ROSH HAAYIN, Israel -- Palestinian suicide bombers blew themselves up at a strip mall in Israel and a bus stop at a Jewish West Bank settlement Tuesday, killing two Israelis, shattering a summer of relative calm and raising new doubt about the fate of a shaky Middle East truce.

The Islamic militant group Hamas claimed responsibility for the second of the two bombings, marking its first open violation of a unilateral cease-fire it declared June 29.

It was not immediately clear whether this meant the truce was over. Hamas political leaders in the Gaza Strip could not be reached for comment.

On Friday, Israeli troops raiding a West Bank bomb lab killed three Palestinians, including two Hamas members, prompting threats of revenge from the Islamic militant group's military wing. An Israeli soldier also died in that gun battle in the city of Nablus.

The first suicide bomber detonated outside a supermarket in the Tel Aviv suburb of Rosh Haayin, killing himself and at least one Israeli.

"I saw fire and a cloud of smoke. They brought out an injured child and then his mother," said Avigail Josef, who sells lottery tickets in a booth just meters from the site of the attack.

A short time later, an attacker blew himself up at a bus stop near the entrance to Ariel, killing an Israeli and seriously injuring two others. Rescue services identified the dead and injured as teenagers.

The web site of Izzedine al Qassam, the Hamas military wing, claimed responsibility for the Ariel bombing.

The bomber was identified as Islam Yousef Qafisha, 21, from the West Bank city of Nablus. The military wing said it carried out the attack in response to what it alleged were Israeli truce violations.

Israel accused Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas of not doing enough to prevent attacks.

Under a U.S.-backed peace plan, the Palestinians must dismantle militant groups, but Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, has said he will not confront Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade. Abbas is currently touring Gulf states.

"The fact that Abu Mazen is circling the globe does not show a serious commitment to dealing with terrorism," said Israeli Cabinet minister Gideon Ezra.

In a first response, Israel called off the release of 76 Palestinians from Israeli jails. The detainees, none of them accused of anti-Israeli violence, had already boarded buses Tuesday morning when the convoys were ordered back.

However, it appeared unlikely Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would order a large-scale response.

He did not change his itinerary Tuesday or convene his security Cabinet, as is usually customary after major attacks.

The Palestinian leadership condemned the bombings, but said the Israeli accusations were unfair.

The Palestinian security chief, Mohammed Dahlan, said he will not permit truce violations and that suicide bombings harm the Palestinian interest.

Regional police chief Uri Bar Lev said police had been on high alert after warnings of an attack in the area.

Israel's Channel 10 television, citing a Palestinian security source, said Palestinian officials had warned Israel about the Rosh Haayin and Ariel attacks.