At least three people have been killed and 27 wounded after a suspected Palestinian suicide bomber set off a large explosion at a shopping mall in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank. The bomber is believed to have died in the blast.
The explosion occurred late Saturday night in a shopping mall crowded with Israeli teenagers at the Jewish settlement of Karnei Shomron, in the northern West Bank.
The blast was set off either inside a pizzeria or at sitting area nearby. Most of the victims appeared to be young Israelis.
Israeli troops and police rushed to the site of the attack, evacuated the area and began searching for other explosive devices.
The attack is another blow to Israel's security, coming only days after Palestinians destroyed an Israeli Merkava tank, considered to be one of the safest military vehicles in the world.
Jewish settlements, considered by many Palestinians as a legitimate target for attacks, are meant to heavily secured against any potential terrorist threats.
Police are investigating whether the suicide bomber had been an Arab employee at the shopping centre.
Residents of the West Bank settlement claimed that some businesses employed Palestinians and some of the shoppers were also Palestinians.
The explosion came shortly after the Palestinian militant group Hamas said it would avenge the killing of one its military leaders, Nazih Abu Sabaa. He died early on Saturday in the northern West Bank town of Jenin when his car exploded.
Palestinian officials blamed Israel, saying that the car was rigged with explosives.