Israel Radio reported that a Palestinian bomber detonated himself near Tel Aviv Thursday morning. One woman was killed and 16 people were wounded. The 71-year-old woman was critically wounded and died later of her wounds.
According to Israel TV, the explosion took place near an Israeli bus on his way to Bar Ilan University, located in Ramat Gan, a suburb of Tel Aviv.
The bomber had first tried to board the bus at a crowded bus stop, but slipped and fell onto the sidewalk. The driver said he got off the bus to help the man and only then spotted the bomb belt. The bomber was killed in the blast.
David Baker, an official in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office, said that "Palestinian terrorists have declared open season on Israelis," and held Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat responsible, saying he did nothing to prevent "terror" attacks.
Hamas has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Israel Radio identified the bomber as Rafiq Hamad, 31, a resident of the Palestinian village of Hableh, near Qalqilya.
A senior spokesman of Hamas, Ismail Abu Shanab, said that "resistance will continue by all means until we get our rights." Later, he told Reuters "These attacks are a response to massacres by the occupation against our innocent civilians. The occupation must not go unpunished for its raids and massacres in (the Gaza Strip)."
Palestinian cabinet minister Saeb Erekat condemned the killing of civilians "whether Palestinians or Israelis." "We hold Prime Minister Sharon responsible for the current escalation," he said.
Elsewhere in the West Bank city of Hebron, Israeli soldiers fired machineguns and teargas to impose a curfew, witnesses said. Hospital sources said three Palestinians were injured. Armoured bulldozers demolished 10 homes, witnesses said. (Albawaba.com)
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