Suicide bomber kills Israeli border police

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A Palestinian woman suicide bomber blew herself up near a crowded bus stop in north Jerusalem yesterday, killing two Israelis and wounding 17. The dead men were reported to have been border policemen who were checking her identity.

A Palestinian woman suicide bomber blew herself up near a crowded bus stop in north Jerusalem yesterday, killing two Israelis and wounding 17. The dead men were reported to have been border policemen who were checking her identity.

It was the first bombing in the city since eight passengers were killed on a bus seven months ago, and the first inside Israel since two bombers blew up two buses in Beersheba on 31 August, killing 16.

The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility, saying the attack was to avenge the deaths of Mahmoud Khalifeh, their local deputy commander, and two other fighters at the hands of Israeli soldiers.

Nadav Yeshayahu, a 19-year-old off-duty soldier, was waiting for a lift to his home in the settlement of Ofra, north of Ramallah, when he saw a border policeman in olive green uniform questioning a woman who appeared to have arrived on foot.

"I was standing about four metres away," he said from a bed in Jerusalem's Bikur Holim hospital, where he was recovering from shock and minor lung damage.

"A car came up, and I was about to get in when I heard an explosion. I saw the policeman on the ground. His face was burned black and blood was pouring from his body. People shouted and rushed to try to stem the bleeding, but it was too late. He was already dead. My ears were ringing from the blast, but I managed to walk to the ambulance."

Other witnesses said the bomber was wearing a veil and was carrying a bag. She argued with a border policeman, who wanted to submit her to a body search. When a second policeman approached she set off the explosive.

Debbie Segal, a witness, said: "She threw back her head and then there was an explosion. A few seconds later, her body burst into flames."

Police estimated that the bomb, packed with nuts and bolts to increase the damage, weighed about five kilogrammes. The blast destroyed the bus stop, which also serves as a hitchhiking post for soldiers. Shards of glass littered the road and there was a stench of burning rubber in the air.

The site, at a junction between the Jewish and Arab suburbs of French Hill and Shuafat, is a jumping-off place for the northern West Bank settlements and army camps. It has been hit by terrorist attacks several times.

Palestinians from the West Bank are barred from entering Jerusalem during the Jewish new year holiday season. Israeli commentators speculated that the bomber might have been a resident of East Jerusalem, or been guided to the spot by a local Palestinian. They suggested that the militant organisations were using more women suicide bombers because the security services had made it harder for men to get through.

Comments