Israeli police have said a female suicide bomber blew herself up outside a Jerusalem market killing at least six people and wounding dozens of others.
Ambulances raced to the scene where Israeli police said a young Palestinian woman detonated a powerful bomb outside the bustling Mahane Yehuda market in central Jerusalem.
The explosion went off near a bus stop next to the market where crowds of Israelis were doing their last-minute shopping before the Jewish Sabbath.
Moments after the explosion rescue workers covered bodies with white sheets. Glass shards, twisted metal, blood and body parts were strewn across the pavement.
Odi Steinberger, 23, was walking across the street from the bus stop when the blast occurred. "I saw blood, many people got wounded, innocent people, children, old people, among them also Arabs. It was terrible," she said.
Reporter: "What did you hear?" "A big, big, bomb," she replied.
The market area in Jerusalem has been the scene of frequent suicide bombing attacks during more than 18-months of Israeli-Palestinian violence.
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a group linked to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, claimed responsibility for the blast.
The bomb went off just hours after U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell met with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to discuss Israel's massive military invasion of the West Bank following a series of suicide bombings that killed dozens of Israelis.
Israeli government spokesman Daniel Seaman, on the scene of the explosion, said Israel has no choice but to keep up its military campaign against Palestinian militants determined to kill innocent people.
"They have to understand that Israel is not trying to defy the United States. Israel is not trying to embarrass the United States. We are fighting a war for our survival. But it is more than that. Right now we are facing a battle here that if terrorism succeeds here tomorrow, Europe and the United States will be facing the same thing. So this is a battle of the civilized world that is being conducted in the streets of Jerusalem and it is about time they understood that. We in Israel are not playing games, we are fighting for our lives," Mr. Seaman said.
The suicide bombing was the latest in a campaign of attacks by Palestinian militants in their uprising against Israeli occupation.