The first suicide attack in Israel since the Gaza pullout has injured between 10 and 20 people. It is reported some of the victims have been seriously hurt. The blast happened during rush hour at the main bus station in Beersheba in the south of the country. The city was the scene of twin bus bombings almost exactly a year ago that killed 16 people. Witnesses say the terrorist blew himself up when he was stopped by security guards after entering the station.
Nobody has claimed responsibility, but Islamic Jihad had promised to retaliate for the killing of at least one of its activists by Israel on Wednesday. The bombing has been condemned by the Palestinian Authority. Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres had this reaction: “We shall draw the necessary conclusions and we hope the Palestinian Authority will do likewise, because terror is damaging not only the security of Israel but also the destiny of the Palestinians.”
Premier Ariel Sharon had already promised a robust response to any terrorist attacks after the Gaza withdrawal. He has also ruled out making concessions to the Palestinian Authority as long as it refrains from dismantling groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.