Tel Aviv suicide attacks kill five

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The Independent Online

At least five people including two bombers were killed, and more than 40 injured, in two suicide attacks in Tel Aviv last night.

At least five people including two bombers were killed, and more than 40 injured, in two suicide attacks in Tel Aviv last night.

There were two explosions in quick succession in an area crowded with street stalls and small shops. Police said they believed the attacks were carried out by two Palestinian suicide bombers working together

Islamic Jihad later claimed responsibility for the bombings.

The bombers struck in a part of the city where many foreign workers live. Police said two of the dead were foreign workersmany of the 40 wounded were labourers from Romania.

Karen Timbo, 21, a worker from Johannesburg, said she was puzzled by the attack. Past Palestinian bombing attacks have targeted Israeli civilians.

"We are not doing any harm," she said. "We just come here to work."

About 300,000 foreigners work in Israel, mostly replacing the Palestinian labourers who have been barred from entering since the outbreak of fighting.

The attack came only a day after an ambush on a bus left eight settlers dead, and will deal a painful blow to the claim that Ariel Sharon's policy of reoccupying West Bank towns and putting a million Palestinian civilians under 24-hour curfew has stopped the militants being able to carry out attacks.

A rescue service worker said wounded people had been evacuated from the scene between a café and a cinema near the city's old central bus station.

Tel Aviv's police chief, Yossi Sedbon, said: "There were two suicide bombers and they are dead. They carried bags that they detonated. They blew up 15 metres from each other."

Witness Yossi Cohen said: "There were two explosions within about half a minute. In the first blast I saw a man fly through the air. I hid and then there was a second explosion. I saw about five or six or seven people lying there, their bodies torn apart."

Minutes after the suicide attack, two Palestinians were reported killed in an explosion in the al-Amari refugee camp in Ramallah, Palestinian medical sources said. Earlier in the day an Israeli officer and a Palestinian man were killed in a fierce gunfight as troops hunted three attackers who ambushed the bus, killing eight Israelis, near the West Bank settlement of Emmanuel on Tuesday.

In Gaza yesterday, an Israeli warplane bombed a metal factory at the Mughazi refugee camp, which the military said was used to manufacture mortar shells and rockets for Hamas.