Nine Israelis were killed, on Monday afternoon, and 32 people were injured, nine seriously, when a sixteen-year old Palestinian boy blew himself up on Tuesday at noon, at a Shawarma stand in the old central bus station in Tel Aviv.
Israeli sources reported that the explosion took place near a Shawarma stand in Neveh Sha’anan neighborhood at the old central bus station in southern Tel Aviv where a previous suicide bombing, carried out on January 19, took place; the bomber was killed, along with nine Israelis, and 32 people were injured.
Large Israeli police forces and Magen David Adom rescue teams were dispatched to the area.
The sources added that according to initial estimations, one suicide bomber carried out the attack after entering the Shawarma stand and detonating explosives he had strapped to his body.
After the blast, the Israeli police began chasing a a blue commercial Mitsubishi vehicle, carrying three passengers, that was seen fleeing the area of the bombing.
An owner of a nearby store told the Israeli online daily Ynetnews that the sound of the explosion was “ extremely strong”.
Palestinian sources identified the bomber as Sami Salim Hamad, a member of the Islamic Jihad, from the West Bank town of Qabatia, near Jenin.
Following the bombing, dozens of Israeli military vehicles invaded the West Bank city of Nablus and conducted military searches in the area.
Israeli security raised the alert level across the country after the blast.
The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the bombing; Khaled Al Batsh, one of the leaders of the Islamic Jihad in Gaza, said that the bombing comes in retaliation to the assassination of resistance fighters and residents in the Palestinian territories.
“This bombing was carried out in retaliation for the assassination of Khaled Al Dahdouh, leader of the Al Quds Brigades in Gaza”, Al Batsh stated, “It comes in retaliation to the assassination of Abu Yousef Al Qouqa, leader of Salah Ed Deen brigades”.
Al Quds Brigades is the military wing of the Islamic Jihad, and Salah Ed Deen Brigades is the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees.
Wasfi Qabha, Palestinian Minister of Detainees, Hamas, said in a press release in the West Bank city of Ramallah that the bombing is a natural retaliation to the Israeli “violations and crimes”.
Meanwhile, Raanan Gissin, a spokesman for the Israeli Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, held the new Hamas-led government responsible for the bombing.
He charged that the new government of Hamas has “already identified itself as a terrorist entity, and has tried to instigate terrorist support more than the previous one did”
“We will act accordingly”, he added.
Saeb Erikat, a senior aide to the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, condemned the attack on the behalf of the Palestinian president and urged all of the Palestinian resistance factions to observe the cessation of fire.