JERUSALEM – Four bombs exploded on the streets of Jerusalem early Monday, and Israel responded with a helicopter strike that sent missiles through the roof of a Palestinian security building in the West Bank.
In a day of violence on several fronts, one Palestinian was killed and 17 were wounded, while at least six Israelis were hurt.
Israel's Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said he was still trying to arrange truce talks with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Nothing was set, but speculation focused on a possible meeting this week in Italy, where both have been invited to a conference.
Asked whether a cease-fire could be reached, Peres said: "That is my hope."
"I think (Arafat) also needs it. The uprising is not yielding so much fruit. On the other hand, it is yielding more and more fatalities, unfortunately, and is causing great hardship," Peres told Israel radio.
Even if a meeting is arranged, the prospects of a breakthrough to end 11 months of fighting are slim. Peres and Arafat have met twice in recent months, but have failed to halt, or even reduce, the bloodshed.
In a bid to bring the two sides together, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana met with Palestinian negotiators Monday and planned to hold talks with the Israelis.
In Jerusalem, three of the four bombs went off in and around French Hill, a neighborhood in the northern part of the city build on land Israel captured in the 1967 war. Two explosions occurred before dawn, startling sleeping residents but causing no injuries. Shortly before 8 a.m., a bomb placed in a car exploded, injuring one woman, setting the vehicle aflame and scattering debris in the street.
The fourth bomb was placed in a municipal pickup truck in French Hill, police said. A municipal worker, unaware of the bomb, drove the vehicle to the Gilo neighborhood in southern Jerusalem early Monday, and that bomb also exploded just before 8 a.m. Two people were lightly hurt.
The radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said its military wing — which it called the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigade — carried out the attacks in retaliation for last week's killing of the group's leader.
PFLP chief Mustafa Zibri, widely known as Abu Ali Mustafa, had organized a string of car bombings, according to Israel. Army helicopters fired a pair of missiles through his office windows on Aug. 27, killing him instantly.
The PFLP has claimed, or been blamed, for about 10 bombings during the current round of Mideast violence, which began last September. No one has been killed in any of the blasts, and in most cases, the injuries have been few and light.
In retaliation for the Monday's bombs and shooting attacks against Israelis in the West Bank, Israeli helicopters fired several missiles at a Palestinian security building in Dura, near the West Bank city of Hebron.
Two members of the Palestinian security forces were injured, the building was badly damaged when missiles slammed through the roof, and three cars were destroyed, Palestinians said.
In the center of Hebron, Israeli soldiers and Palestinian gunmen battled on Monday evening. One Palestinian was killed and about 20 were injured in widespread Israeli gunfire, the Palestinians said. Two Israeli soldiers were hurt in an explosion, the army said, one seriously.
In more violence near the city, a Jewish settler was shot and seriously wounded when his car was ambushed by Palestinian gunmen south of the city, the army and rescue services said.
Hebron has been the scene of repeated clashes throughout the Mideast fighting. About 500 Jewish settlers live in several small enclaves in the city, home to about 130,000 Palestinians.