Israel says thwarts suicide bomb attack in Tel Aviv

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JERUSALEM, Sep 22 (Reuters) Israeli police seized an explosive belt that was intended to be used in a Tel Aviv suicide bomb attack on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, a police spokesman said today.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police raided an apartment in Israel's commercial capital early on Saturday and arrested four people, including a suspected would-be suicide bomber and an explosive belt he was planning to use.

An army spokeswoman said Palestinian militants arrested during a raid in West Bank city of Nablus earlier this week had been planning the attack. Two militants and an Israeli soldier were killed during the raid.

The Hamas leader in al-Ein refugee camp gave the explosive belt to a Nablus resident who worked in Tel Aviv, she said. A news report said the belt was smuggled in parts and was assembled in the apartment.

Both men were arrested during this week's raid and led police to the suspects arrested in Tel Aviv, she added.

Palestinian militants carried out scores of suicide bombings in Israel during a violent uprising which began in 2000, but the attacks have tailed off sharply in recent years.

Israel says it needs a network of roadblocks and checkpoints that limit Palestinian travel in the West Bank to keep suicide bombers out. It has also built a separation barrier which has sealed off much of the territory for the same purpose.

Palestinians call the barrier a land grab as parts of it have been built inside the West Bank. They say the travel restrictions are collective punishment.

REUTERS AK PM0106

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