Fatah, Hamas behind suicide bombing attack in Tel Aviv; At least three killed
A suicide bomber blew himself up at a restaurant in Tel Aviv early Wednesday, killing three people and wounding 35, one critically and six seriously.
Witnesses said a security guard stopped the bomber at the entrance to "Mike's Place," a popular night spot just a few meters from the heavily guarded U.S. Embassy.
"The bomber blew himself up at the entrance," Tel Aviv police commander Yossi Sedbon told reporters at the scene. "It would have been much worse if he had managed to get inside." The bar was crowded with young people when the bomber struck around 1 a.m. Wednesday (2200 GMT Tuesday).
Sedbon said that the bomber was carrying a medium-size bomb packed with nails and other shrapnel.
The attack was jointly planned by Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and the Ezz a-Din al Qassam Brigades, a man calling to AFP, said.
"This attack was carried out by a martyr from Tulkarem to avenge Mazen Erahpe, an Al Aqsa member recently killed in Nablus [by the Israeli army], and was jointly planned by the Al Aqsa and Al Qassam Brigades," he said. According to him, the attack was a message to the new Palestinian government that "nobody can disarm the resistance movements without a political resolution."
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Nancy Beck condemned the bombing. "There can be no excuse for the violence and terrorist attacks the Israeli people have been forced to endure," she said, adding that the U.S. goal is a Palestinian state living peacefully alongside Israel.
David Baker, an official in the Israeli Prime Minister's office, said the "new Palestinian government must seize this opportunity to stop these terror attacks, and it must be done now."
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan also condemned the attack, and urged both sides not to allow it to derail the recently-resumed peace process.
"The secretary-general calls on all concerned to exercise maximum restraint and begin the implementation of the road map that will be presented shortly," Annan's spokesman, Fred Eckhard, said in a statement.
Annan "reiterates his appeal to the Palestinians to pursue nonviolent policies and urges the Palestinian Authority to make every effort to stop these terrorist acts against Israelis," the UN statement said. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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