Suicide bomber kills six in Tel Aviv attack

A Palestinian suicide bomber killed at least six people and wounded at least 35, many of them seriously, in an explosion near the old central bus station in south Tel Aviv Monday afternoon, police and rescue workers said.


The attack came just two hours before a special session of Knesset to inaugurate the new parliament elected last month. It also came at the height of holiday travel during the week-long Passover holiday.
The Magen David Adom ambulance service said that at least 15 of the wounded were suffering from moderate to serious injuries.
Witnesses said the bomber was also killed in the explosion. Large numbers of rescue vehicles were at the site, which was closed to outside traffic.
The Islamic Jihad and the Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades both claimed responsibility for the attack. Security forces had warned of a number of attempts by the Islamic Jihad and other groups to attack the site in recent weeks.
The Monday explosion ripped through Felafel Rosh Ha’ir, the same restaurant that was hit by an attacker on January 19. Twenty people were wounded in that attack. The restaurant is in the bustling Neveh Sha’anan neighborhood near Tel Aviv’s central bus station.
A member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs told Reuters by telephone that it had carried out the attack to avenge “Israeli massacres committed against our people in Gaza”.
Abbas condemns attack
Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, also know as Abu Mazen, said: “I condemn this attack on behalf of President Abu Mazen, and I urge all Palestinian factions to observe a cessation of violence. Such attacks harm Palestinian interests.”
It was the first suicide bombing in Israel since the Hamas militant group took over the Palestinian Authority government 2 1/2 weeks ago. Hamas and some other militant groups have been observing a formal, shaky ceasefire with Israel for more than a year, though the new Hamas-led Palestinian leadership has refused to condemn attacks against Israelis.
The Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for all six of the previous suicide attacks inside Israel since the ceasefire was declared. On Sunday, Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shallah said the militant group was making “nonstop efforts” to infiltrate suicide bombers from the West Bank into Israel.
“The nonstop crackdown against our resistance might limit this effort, but it’s not going to stop it,” he said in a statement posted on the group’s Web site.
At the site of the attack Monday, wounded were treated on sidewalks. One man was lying on his side, his shirt pushed up and his back covered by bandages. A bleeding woman was wheeled away on a stretcher. A dazed-looking man walked near the site, his white T-shirt splattered with blood.
The blast shattered the windshields of cars, and blew out the windows of nearby buildings. Glass shards and blood splattered the ground. The sign of the restaurant’s building was blown away. Bottles and other debris were scattered up to 25 meters from the site of the blast.