A Palestinian suicide bombing at the main border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip has killed four people and left seven others injured, three of them are reported to be in serious condition.
A 21-year-old Palestinian woman blew herself up as she waited to enter Israel at the Erez border crossing. The victims were all Israelis.
The Islamic militant groups Hamas and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades released a joint statement claiming responsibility for the bombing. Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin told journalists it was the first time Hamas has used a female suicide bomber. The cleric called it a new development that will signal an escalation in resistance against this enemy until they leave our land and homeland.
The Erez crossing is the main entry point for Palestinians who work in Israel.
The bombing was the first since December 25 when four Israelis were killed in a suicide attack in Tel Aviv. It came just hours after an Israeli man was shot dead in an ambush near the West Bank town of Ramallah. Three others were injured in that incident.