Sat, Dec 27, 2003 - Page 7 News List

Palestinian kills three in Tel Aviv suicide attack

REUTERS , PETAH TIKVA, ISRAEL

A general view of the scene of a suicide attack at a bus station near Petakh Tikvah, on the northeastern outskirts of Tel Aviv, on Thursday. At least three people were killed, including the apparent suicide bomber, and a dozen wounded in the attack, police said.

PHOTO: AFP

A Palestinian suicide bomber killed three people at a bus stop near Tel Aviv on Thursday minutes after Israeli helicopters killed a top Islamic militant and at least four people in Gaza.

The attacks shattered well over two months of relative calm that had spurred efforts to revive talks between Israelis and Palestinians on a US-led plan for ending more than three years of conflict.

The militant Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) claimed responsibility.

"This is the first operation in a series of retaliations. We swear to make an earthquake in the Zionist entity," a PFLP statement said, referring to a deadly Israeli raid on the West Bank city of Nablus last week. It described Thursday's blast as a "martyrdom operation," a standard term for suicide bombings.

Israel's police chief said the bomber killed three other people and wounded 16 in the blast at the bus stop near Petah Tikva -- "Gateway to Hope" in Hebrew -- on a highway leading out of Israel's coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv.

Two bodies lay under blankets and blood spattered the ground. The explosion reduced the bus stop to a skeletal frame and brought rush hour traffic on one of Israel's busiest roads to a stop.

"I heard a noise like a rocket and we came here and it was full of people. I saw the head of the terrorist on the bridge," said 26-year-old Lior, who lives nearby. Some onlookers in the religious neighborhood chanted "Death to Arabs."

In the last big suicide attack in Israel, on Oct. 4, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew herself up in a crowded beach restaurant in the city of Haifa, killing 23 other people.

Just minutes before the suicide bombing, Israeli helicopters struck in Gaza to kill Meqbel Hmaid, the head of the armed wing of Islamic Jihad and a top deputy of the group sworn to Israel's destruction and at the forefront of a suicide bombing campaign.

Three civilians, including one 15-year-old, also died in the missile strike on two cars, medics said.

Hundreds of Islamic Jihad fighters, who came to the mortuary in mourning for their top military commander, fired guns in the air and yelled "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) as news broke of the explosion near Tel Aviv.

"God has taken revenge," they shouted.

This story has been viewed 2614 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top