4 dead in Tel Aviv suicide attack
TEL AVIV: A Palestinian suicide bomber killed at least four people and wounded dozens more in an attack on a crowded cafe near the US embassy in Tel Aviv early Wednesday, just hours after Mahmud Abbas was endorsed as the first-ever Palestinian prime minister.
“The attack killed three people, not including the terrorist,” Israeli police chief Shlomo Aharonochki told journalists, adding that 55 people had been wounded in the blast. Most of the wounded were said to be young people. A caller told AFP that the attack had been jointly planned by the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and the Al Qassam Brigades.
The man calling himself Abu Barek said: “This attack was carried out by a martyr from Tulkarem (in the north of the West Bank) to avenge Mazen Erapeh, an Al Aqsa member recently killed in Nablus, and was jointly planned by the Al Aqsa and Al Qassam Brigades.”
Police commander Yossi Setbon earlier told Israeli public radio: “A suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance to the cafe ‘Mike’s Place’ and claimed dozens of victims.” He said a security guard had managed to stop the bomber from entering the cafe, adding that the bomber used several kilograms of explosives studded with nails.
An unidentified US citizen was among the 50 people wounded in the attack, a US embassy spokesman said. The United States strongly condemned the attack. “We condemn this cowardly act of terrorism in the strongest possible terms,” a White House official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
“There can be no excuse for the violence and terrorist attacks the Israeli people have been forced to endure,” US State Department spokeswoman Nancy Beck said.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan also condemned the attack, but urged Israelis and Palestinians to stick to the peace process, his spokesman said Tuesday. —AFP