Double blast injures 13 in Tel Aviv

Israeli police minister claims bombs mark resumption of Palestinian guerrilla campaign

Two bombs, apparently planted by Palestinian guerrillas, injured thirteen people when they exploded in a poor area of south Tel Aviv last night in what may be the resumption of a Palestinian bombing campaign.

Assaf Hefetz, the national police chief, said the bombs were packed with nails, indicating a guerrilla attack rather than a criminal feud. Another sign that the motive was political is that the first bomb exploded at 8.20 pm and the second ten minutes later, presumably to cause the maximum number of casualties.

The bombs were planted ten yards from each other in Neve Sha'anan street near a sex cinema close to the old bus station in south Tel Aviv. This is a very different type of location from the four suicide bombs which killed 58 people in February and March which were targeted at buses, a shopping mall and a bus stop used by soldiers. Asked if guerrillas were behind the attack Avigdor Kahalani, the Police Minister, said: "That's what we think." An eye witness said: "There was a very strong explosion under the Central Cinema, in a snack bar. Ten minutes later there was another blast."

Another witness said: "It was a tremendous explosion. A sunflower seed seller was hurt. Police arrived five minutes later. As they were checking things another bomb went off and a policeman was hurt."

The Israeli government immediately called on Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, to clamp down on guerrilla organisations operating from within autonomous Palestinian areas. Militant Islamic groups had said they would avenge an attack by a Jewish settler on Palestinians in Hebron market last week which left seven injured.

It is unclear how far the attack will affect the talk on Israeli withdrawal from Hebron and the implementation of the Oslo agreement which would cede most of the West Bank to the Palestinians. This had already stalled because Mr Arafat has turned down Israel's demand for a two-year delay in its pull-out from West Bank villages.

Nobody claimed responsibility for the bombings last night and there is still some chance that they were the result of a criminal dispute, but several Palestinian factions are still committed to military action. These include Islamic Jihad, based in Damascus, which carried out the last suicide attack in Tel Aviv in March, and Hamas, which is divided about guerrilla actions, with its internal wing opposing them and its external wing, largely based in Jordan, giving them support. In December the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine killed two settlers in a car near Ramallah. The fact that nobody was killed last night in Tel Aviv may limit the political impact of the bombs.

A survey of Palestinian public opinion carried out by the Centre for Palestine Research and Studies based in Nablus showed that between March and December last year the number of Palestinians favouring military action had increased from 22 per cent to 40 per cent. At the same time Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PFLP have been weakened by lack of public support and pressure from the Palestinian security services.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, visiting the wounded in hospital, pledged to respond with "extreme severity" if it emerged the bombers came from Palestinian self-rule areas.

"If it becomes clear that the terrorists who carried out this attack came from the Palestinian Authority [area], we will respond with extreme severity," he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea