An Israeli security source reported that two security guards were injured in BeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢er Sheva on Sunday morning after a bomber detonatedÃ‚Â explosivesÃ‚Â outside the central bus station when he was spotted by two security guards. Ã‚Â 50 other Israelis were reportedly treated for shock.
The bombing took place at approximately 8:30 on Sunday morning.
One of the wounded guards is a 26-year-old Bedouin identified as LuÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ay Abu JumÃ¢â‚¬â„¢a, while the other was identified as Pavel Srotzkin.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The bus was slightly damaged as a result of the quick response of the security guards,Ã¢â‚¬Â a police source said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They approached the bomber and averted a bigger disasterÃ¢â‚¬Â since the bomber was unableÃ‚Â to board one of the busses at the station.
Nissim Horesh, the driver of the bus, said that the bomber approached the bus and asked him if the bus was heading to the hospital.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I suspected him, he was carrying a heavy backpack, and a plastic bag in his hands,Ã¢â‚¬Â the driver said. Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“I directed the attention of the security guardsÃ‚Â to him.Ã‚Â One of them came and maintained direct eye contact with him and called the other guard.Ã‚Â Then the blast took place.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Yaron Barel, a paramedic who was the first to arrive onÃ‚Â the scene, said that he found two security guards who Ã¢â‚¬Å“prevented a disaster with their bodies.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The wounded guards were transferred to Soroka Medical Center, in BeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢er Sheva. Ã‚Â Soroka director Eitan Hai-Am reported that the two guards were seriously injured. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Their bodies were filled with shrapnel,Ã¢â‚¬Â Hai-Am said.Ã‚Â
Meanwhile, David Baker, SharonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s office spokesperson, blamed the Palestinian Authority for what he described as Ã¢â‚¬Å“failing to take steps to prevent terrorist attacks.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Israel has taken the necessary procedures to advance peace,Ã¢â‚¬Â Baker said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“The P.A did not take action in order to prevent such attacks.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Large numbers of Israeli police and security forces was dispatched to the scene of the blast.Ã‚Â They set up roadblocks and sealed the entrances and exits of BeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢er Sheva.
The police suspect that a vehicle escaped the scene of the blast after it took place,Ã‚Â possibly carrying Ã¢â‚¬Å“the accomplices of the bomber.Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â
One Palestinian was reportedly arrested.Ã‚Â Israeli security claims he transferred the bomber.Ã‚Â Dozens of Palestinian workers in Israel were also detained.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the bombing, describing it as a terrorist attack.
Abbas released an official statement condemning the attack and slammed Israel for its recent military attacks in the West Bank, which killed five Palestinians, including three children, in Tulkarem.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are committed to the truce, in spite of the Israeli violations and continuous attacks,Ã¢â‚¬Â Abbas said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“The latest attacked carried out by Israel left five residents killed in Tulkarem, including three children.Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â
Khaled Al Batsh, one of the Islamic Jihad leaders in Gaza, said that the movement does not know who carried out the attack,Ã‚Â but added that such an attack Ã¢â‚¬Å“is a natural reaction to the crimes carried out by the occupation.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Israeli security believes that the bomber is from the Hebron area, in the southern West Bank.
Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, said that the West Bank became the main location of attacks against Israeli targets,
Mofaz added that the P.A should increase its effortsÃ‚Â to counter further attacks expected to be carried out by fighters in the West Bank.
The statements of Mofaz were made during a government session on Sunday morning.
CommentingÃ‚Â on the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, Mofaz said that the Israeli army will evacuate by September 15, 2005, but will retain its control over the Philadelphi Route until the end of the year.