Hamas, Fatah claim Israeli port bombings: At least 10 killed, PA condemns
A double suicide bomb attack at the southern Israeli port of Ashdod killed at least 10 Israelis, media reports said Sunday afternoon. The port of Ashdod is situated some 40 kilometers south of Tel Aviv. Sunday's attack was the first of its kind at an Israeli seaport since fighting broke out in September 2000.
Some 20 people were injured. One of the bombers reportedly exploded just outside the main gate to the port. The second entered the facility and detonated his bomb just a short time later in a centrally-located workshop inside the port.
Israeli security sources, cited by Israel Radio, expressed their surprise of the ability of Palestinian groups to to infiltrate heavily guarded areas such as the port of Ashdod.
Initial reports said the cause of the blast was a "work accident".
Fatah's al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Hamas' Ezz a-Din al Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility for this attack. The bombers were identified as Nabil Mansoor and Muhammed Salem, both residents of the Gaza Strip.
Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin said the bombings were "a response to the Israeli crimes against our people," and said attacks would continue until Israel withdraws from Gaza Strip.
On its part, the Palestinian Authority condemned the attack and urged Palestinians to stop such acts immediately. It also urged Israel to commit itself to a ceasefire "to break the cycle of violence" and to implement the U.S.-backed "road map" for peace in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called off a meeting scheduled for Tuesday with Palestinian premier Ahmed Qurei in response to the attack. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)