A suicide bomb attack in Tel Aviv has raised tensions in the region only days before the palestinian election. Thirty people were wounded in the blast after the bomber blew himself up next to a shopping centre.
Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility. The Palestinian leadership condemned the attack saying it was aimed at further destabilising Palestinian/ Israeli relations in the run up to the Palestinian vote.
It is the first bombing in Israel since interim Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert took over from the striken Ariel Sharon. It is seen as a test of whether Olmert will exact harsh reprisals in the Palestinian territories in keeping with Sharon’s military style.
Only hours after the attack, Israeli troops killed a Palestinian near the West bank town of Hebron. An army spokesman said they had fired at two Palestinians who lit a petrol bomb, killing one man and arresting the other.
Earlier in the week an amateur video captured scenes of scuffles bwteen Israeli settlers and police in the same area. Israeli military officials have said they are to mobilise 4,000 police to remove by force Jewish settlers from two unauthorised West Bank outposts.
Analysts see that as a sign that Olmert may continue Sharon’s firm handling of the settlers.