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Israeli Security Guard Prevents Suicide Bomber from Causing Tragedy - 2002-05-24


Israeli police say a major tragedy was averted when a security guard blocked an attempt to blow up a crowded nightclub in Tel Aviv. The guard gunned down a suspected Palestinian suicide bomber who was in an explosives - laden car.

A guard at the Studio 49 disco said he saw the attacker racing towards the night-club in a car and opened fire, at which point the booby-trapped vehicle exploded.

The attack, in which the Palestinian militant was killed and two people were injured, is the second attempted bombing in the city in two days.

On Thursday, suspected Palestinian militants detonated a device underneath a tanker at the country's largest fuel depot in Tel Aviv. The blaze was quickly brought under control, averting what police believe would have been a major disaster.

Referring to the attack on the Tel Aviv nightclub, the city's police commander Yossi Sedbon said, "a big tragedy was also averted here".

The Palestinian Authority condemned the attacks.

But, the al-Aqsa Brigades of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction has claimed responsibility for both bombings.

The Israeli defense minister, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, has warned citizens to prepare for what he called "waves" of suicide bombings in the near future. Amid heightened security alerts, the Israeli army is continuing to launch incursions into Palestinian-ruled territory.

On Thursday, Israeli soldiers blew up a factory in Gaza City, which it said was used for making Kassam rockets. The rockets have been fired at Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip in recent days.

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