At least 16 hurt in suicide bombing in Tel Aviv

A suicide bomber blew up near the old central bus station in Tel Aviv at around 3:45 P.M. on Thursday, wounding at least 16 people. Police said that the suicide bomber was the only person killed in the explosion. Channel 10 television said that the blast occurred at a shwarma stand close to the bus station, at the junction of Neveh Sha’anan and Salomon streets, in an area normally crowded with shoppers and travelers. Of the wounded, one person was in serious condition, four people sustained moderate wounds and nine others were lightly hurt, the television said. All the wounded were evacuated from the site of the attack within a short time of the blast. They were taken to Wolfson Medical Center in Holon and Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. „There was a huge boom near… a restaurant,” witness Ronit Lis told Reuters. „Everything turned black and I ran away. They began to close the area down and there are a lot of ambulances in the area.” A witness, who identified himself only as Itzik, said he was eating at a fast-food stand when he began to suspect the man standing next to him. „All of a sudden a policeman came, he pulled him out, and started searching him,” he told Israel Radio. The suspect fled, Itzik said, and five minutes later the explosion was heard. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, the sixth suicide bombing in Israel since a truce took effect last February. In the wake of the blast, the police raised the level of alert across the whole country, Channel 10 said. A Palestinian suicide bomber last struck in Israel on December 5, killing five people outside a shopping mall in the coastal city of Netanya.