On Monday morning the first Palestinian suicide bomb attack since April 2006 occurred in a bakery in the coastal town of Eilat, killing three Israelis and injuring several others.
Isreali media sources initially reported the incident as being due to a gas leak, but later confirmed that an investigation brought Israeli Police to the conclusion that this was an attack carried out by a bomber.
The bakery is located in a residential area of the Red Sea coastal city of Eilat , which is a popular tourist resort. This is the first suicide bombing to be carried out in Eilat.
An Israeli police officer in the city told Israeli Army Radio: "This was a suicide bombing and the bomber is one of the dead. He apparently entered with a bag or an explosives belt and blew himself up inside the shop,"
The Al-Quds Brigades of the Islamic Jihad, Al Aqsa Brigades of Fateh, and the Army of The Faithful Brigades, have claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Islamic Jihad has named the bomber as Mohammed al-Saqsaq, 21, of Gaza; Al Quds Brigades stated that he entered Israel via Jordan
A spokesman of Hamas described the bombing as a "natural response to Israeli military policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as [Israel's] ongoing boycott of the Hamas-led Palestinian government." While the Fateh oriented Al Aqsa Brigades made a similar statement saying that “The attack in Eilat was a natural response to Israel’s continued crimes in the West Bank."
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum added that "So long as there is occupation, resistance is legitimate."
This is the first suicide bomb attack in Israel since April 2006, when a bomber detonated explosives in a bus station in Tel Aviv killing ten people.
Eilat police chief Bruno Stein said he believes that there could be more bombers in the city."Our assumption is that it's not one bomber, and there might be more bombers in Eilat right now," Stein said. The emergency services have raised their alert level to the highest.
Just hours after the attack Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated that Israel will "continue in our ongoing and unending struggle against terrorists and those who send them."
The Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz said "I've talked with the prime minister and we've decided to act immediately." These 'immediate actions' will no doubt bring about dire consequences for Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Territories. However, Government spokeswoman Miri Eisen said that it was too soon to predict Israel's exact response to the attack.
A spokesperson for Al-Aqsa Brigades of Fateh stated that "the bombing should not lead to the collapse of the agreed-upon truce with Israel as "the Israeli Army killed and apprehended dozens of Palestinian activists during the period of calm."