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Tel Aviv Suicide Bombing Leaves One Victim Dead, 12 Wounded - 2002-10-10

An Israeli woman has been killed and at least 12 others wounded by a suicide bomber at a bus stop in Tel Aviv.

A bomber blew himself up below a bridge at a junction near Tel Aviv's Bar-Ilan University.

Tel Aviv police chief Yossi Sedbon says the bomber tried to board the bus through the rear door, but fell off the steps, onto the sidewalk.

The driver and several passengers, unaware that the man was carrying explosives, got off the bus to help him. But when they got close to him, they saw he had a belt of explosives strapped to his waist.

Mr. Sedbon says they then pinned down the arms of the bomber to prevent him from detonating his explosives. When the other passengers left the bus, those who were holding the bomber released him and ran away.

The police chief says the attacker was moving toward the fleeing passengers when the bomb exploded.

Though at least one person was killed by the bomber, the police chief says the quick thinking and courage displayed by those who detained the attacker averted what he described as a "major disaster".

The bombing follows warnings from militant Palestinian groups that they would launch a wave of terrorist attacks to avenge the deaths of 16 Palestinians killed Monday, during an Israeli raid into the town of Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army launched an operation into Rafah, also in the Gaza Strip, in which two Palestinians were reported killed.

The Israeli army also raided towns and villages across the West Bank, arresting more than 70 suspected Palestinian militants.