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CRASH KILLS PILOT SON OF ISRAELI ASTRONAUT

JERUSALEM - Israelis witnessed the second chapter of a riveting tragedy Sunday when the crash of an F-16 fighter-bomber killed the pilot son of Col. Ilan Ramon, the Israeli astronaut who died in the Columbia space shuttle disaster of 2003.

Radio and television stations interrupted programming to report the death of Lt. Assaf Ramon, 21, and convey emotional responses by the nation's leaders.

"There are few moments in which personal pain rips so powerfully through the nation's heart," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said from Cairo. His meeting Sunday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, focusing in part on negotiations to free an Israeli soldier held by Hamas militants, was overshadowed at home by the crash.

The military announced that Ramon's remains had been identified amid the plane's wreckage in a remote region of the West Bank south of the city of Hebron.

Ramon, on a training exercise when he crashed, was posthumously promoted to captain.

A meeting between Netanyahu and White House Mideast envoy George Mitchell, scheduled for today, was postponed to Tuesday to allow the Israeli leader to attend Ramon's funeral.

Also Sunday, Israeli President Shimon Peres, 85, was discharged from a Tel Aviv hospital, a day after fainting during a talk.

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