Bomb explodes in suburb south of Tel Aviv

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

JERUSALEM (AP) -- A bomb exploded Wednesday evening in Rishon Letzion, a suburb of Tel Aviv, and authorities said dozens of people were wounded. Israel TV reported two people were killed, apparently including the bomber.

Police said the bomb went off on Rothschild Street in the middle of the city. On May 7, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a pool hall in the same Tel Aviv suburb, killing 15 Israelis and himself.

Initial reports on Israeli media said Wednesday's bomb was set off by a suicide attacker.

Rescue services director Avi Zohar said more than 40 injured were taken to hospitals. The area where the explosion occurred was closed off by police.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, but the prime minister's office called it a terror attack.

David Baker, an official in the Israeli prime minister's office, said of the blast: "this was another cowardly act of terror committed by Palestinian terrorists who have once again resorted to their murderous deeds. Israel will not buckle under in the face of terror and we will use whatever measures are needed to root it out."

Israel has been hit by more than 60 suicide bombings in nearly 20 months of fighting. On Sunday, three people died in addition to the Palestinian bomber in the coastal city of Netanya,

On March 29, responding to an earlier wave of Palestinian suicide bomb attacks, Israel launched a large-scale incursion into the West Bank, taking control of main towns and refugee camps and battling with Palestinian gunmen.

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