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Suicide Bomber Strikes in Dimona Near Israel's Nuclear Reactor

Two Palestinian suicide bombers who crossed into Israel from Egypt struck the Israeli city of Dimona, killing one woman and injuring seven others. Jim Teeple has details from our Jerusalem bureau.

Witnesses say a huge explosion rocked a downtown shopping area in the southern Israeli city of Dimona, about 10 kilometers from the site of Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor.

Dimona police official Uri Barlev told Israel's Army Radio two attackers were involved.

Barlev says one attacker detonated his explosive belt, but the other attacker was shot and killed before he could act.

A faction of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade group, which is affiliated with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement claimed responsibility for the attack. Abu Walid is a spokesman for the group.

Walid says the attack was a joint effort carried out by al-Aksa militants and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He says the militants wanted to show they could strike at what he describes as Israel's most secure city.

A statement issued by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack, but he also criticized Israel for a military operation early Monday in the West Bank that killed several militants. Israeli warplanes also struck the northern Gaza Strip, killing a senior Palestinian militant.

Israeli officials say the suicide bombing will have no effect on peace talks with Mr. Abbas.

Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip praised the Dimona bombing, calling it a glorious act.

Dimona is about 60 kilometers from Israel's border with Egypt. The bombing confirmed the fears of Israeli security officials, who have warned that Palestinian militants who managed to leave the Gaza Strip during the past week because Gaza's border with Egypt had been breached, would attack Israelis by crossing into Israel along the porous Sinai border.

The attack was the first suicide bombing in Israel since January 2007, when a Palestinian killed three Israelis in the southern resort city, Eilat, after crossing into Israel from Egypt.