A Palestinian suicide bomber disguised as an Orthodox Jew hitched a ride with Jewish settlers driving in the West Bank. He blew himself up at a gas station at the entrance to the settlement of Kedoumim, killing himself and the four Israelis in the car.
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a militant group linked to the Fatah movement of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, claimed responsibility. It was the first time the group has carried out a bombing since an Israel-Palestinian cease-fire was declared over a year ago.
Mr. Abbas condemned the attack. But the Islamic militant group Hamas, which took control of the Palestinian Authority earlier this week, said Palestinians have the right to resist the Israeli occupation.
"We are people under occupation, and we are freedom seekers so that we would like the whole world really to emancipate us from the slavery of occupation," said Palestinian parliament speaker Abdel Aziz Duwaik.
Israel accused the Palestinian Authority of recently releasing the bomber from prison. Government spokesman Dore Gold says Israel will take the necessary measures to defend itself.
"We're speaking about a situation in which we're facing an escalation of terrorism, from groups like Hamas, like Fatah, and like Islamic Jihad. And therefore we must defeat terrorism," said Gold.
Not long after the bombing, a senior Palestinian militant was killed in Gaza City when his car mysteriously exploded in flames. He was identified as Abu Yousef Abu Quka, a top commander of a small militant group called the Popular Resistance Committees. Hamas accused Israel of launching an air strike, but the army says it was not involved.