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Israel Says al-Qaida was Involved in Tunisian Synagogue Blast VOA News

A senior Israeli official said his government believes Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network was involved in the April 11 explosion at a Tunisian synagogue. Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Melchior said Israel had intelligence information about al-Qaida's involvement in the blast that killed 19 people - 14 of them German tourists. Last week, German police said the information they gathered suggested the explosion of a fuel truck outside the synagogue was carried out by a suicide bomber. A German TV report also said Tunisian police, searching the home of the suspected attacker, found a satellite telephone of the same type used by al-Qaida fighters in Afghanistan.

Bush, Sharon Meet as 16 Plus Die in Rishon Blast

By VOA News, & Ha'aretz

At least 16 persons were killed and dozens wounded in an explosion in the Shpiel Club, a billiards club in the new industrial zone in Rishon L'Tzion, south of Tel Aviv, at 4:03 p.m. EDT.

As Prime Minister Ariel Sharon began a meeting in the White House with President George W. Bush, a suicide terrorist entered the club located at Sakharov Street and detonated a powerful blast that resulted in the roof of the structure collapsing. At least 60 people are reported wounded in the blast and some of them are believed trapped in the rubble. Israeli radio said part of the building where the explosion occurred collapsed.

Al Manar TV in Lebanon said it received a claim of responsibility from the Islamic militant group Hamas. But Hamas spokesman Mahmoud Zahar said from his home in Gaza City that he could not confirm the claim. "We do not have any clear evidence or information except what we are seeing on TV, But if it is a martyrdom operation, it means that Israel has lost its war against the Palestinians and the Palestinian resistance has proved that it is capable of reaching the enemy everywhere."

Magen David Adom reported that they had evacuated many people to local hospitals, nine in serious condition, 10 moderate and the remainder lightly injured. The blast occurred on the third floor of the building, causing part of the structure to collapse.

An eyewitness who gave his first name as Oren told Israel Radio that he was near the scene at the time of the explosion. "I just ran away from there. I don't know if it's a terror attack," he said. Another eyewitness said that said she was on her way home when she heard "a huge explosion. I turned the corner and I saw the whole building go up before my eyes."

In Washington, Bush and Sharon met for talks focused on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the president stressed his "unflagging support" for Israel, but urged Sharon to ease the plight of the Palestinian people. Fleischer said the president also reaffirmed his support for a Palestinian state - one based on democracy, and a market economy free of corruption.

Before being informed of the suicide bombing, Sharon reportedly informed Bush that he agreed to the establishment of a Palestinian state as part of an interim agreement - but that its exact borders would be negotiated in the framework of a final-status agreement. He expressed awareness that this will earn him the wrath of many political supporters at home, but reportedly told aides that he expected the PA to turn down this offer as well.

Sharon reportedly rejected the Saudi "peace" proposal, and presented Bush with documents proving that the Saudis allocated tens of millions of dollars for suicide attacks against Israel. Itim News Agency's Yoram Levy, speaking from Washington, told Arutz-7 that the Saudi Arabian issue "is a hot topic here. There was widespread coverage of the Israeli evidence showing that the Saudis paid for suicide killers. It is a sensitive issue, in light of recent revelations of the Saudi involvement with Al Qaeda together with their attempt to be portrayed as peace-loving."

Palestinian Red Crescent Out of Medicine, Supplies

By Lisa Schlein (VOA-Geneva)

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said thousands of people left homeless by recent violence in Palestinian territories are in urgent need of emergency medical care. The organization is appealing for more than $1 million for health care in the Palestinian areas.

The International Red Cross said the Palestine Red Crescent Society has run out of medicines and medical supplies, and that it can no longer carry out its primary health care and home-based programs for sick and destitute Palestinians.

Red Cross spokesman Denis McClean says that during the past month, the crisis has left thousands of people homeless. He said they have not been able to get either emergency or regular public health care in hospitals or clinics.

A spokeswoman for the World Health Organization, Fadela Chaib, said the organization continues to have difficulty getting medical supplies into the Palestine territories, noting that "40 emergency health kits are still stuck in Amman. WHO is just trying to find a way to transport them to the Palestinian occupied territories. But since now, we did not succeed."

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