Five Uzbek citizens were killed in abortive suicide attacks on the embassies of Israel and the US in Tashkent. In response, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom has ordered increased security at all Israeli legations abroad.

Three Uzbek suicide bombers attacked the Israeli and United States embassies, and the General Prosecutor’s Office, in Tashkent at about 5 p.m. Friday, July 30.

Israeli Ambassador Zvi Cohen said no Israelis were hurt in the blast, but one of the victims was his personal bodyguard, Izat Wachislav Makarov, 37, who was guarding in front of the embassy at the time of the attack. Four local policemen were also killed; two outright and two who died later of their wounds.

The bombers had apparently intended to enter the buildings, but were prevented by the guards. The embassies, protected by high walls, showed almost no signs of damage.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom spoke with Ambassador Cohen, who updated him on the attack, the foreign minister’s communications adviser announced. Shalom pledged to dispatch any aid necessary to the embassy and asked the ambassador to express Israel’s condolences to the families of the victims. He also announced that it has been decided to increase security measures at all Israeli legations abroad.

Speaking on Army Radio, Shalom noted that Israel’s legations have been and continue to be the targets of attacks by Islamist extremists throughout the world. He cited previous lethal bombings in Asuncion, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, London, Ankara, and Cairo.

"We don’t consider this incident an isolated one," Shalom concluded, "but a phenomenon that can occur anywhere."