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Palestinian Bomber Kills Self in Northern Israel - 2002-05-20


A Palestinian suicide bomber detonated explosives in northern Israel Monday, killing himself but causing no other injuries. The attempted attack follows Sunday's suicide bombing that killed three Israelis and the bomber in the coastal city of Netanya.

Monday's explosion came at a busy intersection close to the northern Israeli town of Afula, which has been the target of several Palestinian suicide and shooting attacks.

Police say civilians notified authorities when a man waiting at a local bus stop raised suspicions. When police approached the man and asked for his identity papers, he set off explosives.

The incident came one day after another bombing in the city of Netanya along the Mediterranean coast, raising fears within Israel of a new wave of suicide attacks.

In Sunday's incident a Palestinian, dressed in an Israeli army uniform, blew himself up at a fruit and vegetable market.

Men with loudspeakers paraded through the West Bank town of Nablus claiming responsibility for the bombing in the name of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The French news agency AFP is reporting the militant group Hamas also claimed responsibility.

The Palestinian Authority issued a statement condemning what it called the "terrorist attack" on Israeli civilians.

Netanya has been targeted repeatedly by suicide bombers during nearly 20 months of Israeli-Palestinian violence. A bombing that killed 29 people at a restaurant last March in Netanya prompted Israel's massive military operation in the West Bank.

The Israeli raids into Palestinian-controlled areas were designed to dismantle what officials called the "terrorist infrastructure" and arrest militants.

Sunday's bombing was the first since 15 Israelis died earlier this month in a suicide attack on a pool hall in a suburb of Tel Aviv. Israel had threatened to retaliate with an attack on the Gaza Strip, but called off the operation, apparently after pressure from the United States and other countries.

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