(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

An IDF officer, Lt. Ori Binamo, and two Palestinians were killed, an IDF soldier was severely wounded and two additional IDF soldiers were moderately wounded in a suicide bombing attack carried out this morning, December 29, 2005, at a roadblock near the village of Jbara, south of Tulkarm.

An initial inquiry into the incident revealed that the suicide bomber who was on his way to carry out a suicide bombing attack during the Hanukkah holiday season inside Israel, arrived at the roadblock in a Palestinian taxi at 9:30 a.m. Following high security alerts of a suicide bomber who intended to infiltrate into Israel, IDF forces had set up temporary roadblocks in the Tulkarm area in an effort to prevent the bomber from entering Israel.

Soldiers stopped the Palestinian taxi at the roadblock to conduct a security check. Three passengers exited the taxi, including the bomber who was wearing a large overcoat. The roadblock commander requested that the bomber open his coat to be searched. The bomber then opened his coat and detonated the explosives belt concealed under his coat. The belt had been wired to a very large amount of explosives and additionally had nails and other metallic debris attached to it. An IDF officer was killed, an IDF soldier was severely wounded and two additional soldiers were moderately wounded as a result of the explosion and debris. The wounded soldiers were evacuated to receive further treatment in the hospital.

In addition to the suicide bomber, two Palestinians were also killed in the bombing, the driver of the taxi and an additional passenger. Their involvement in the bombing is being investigated. Additional Palestinians who were wounded as a result of the explosion were evacuated by Palestinian medical services.

During the past several months Israeli security forces have been operating continuously against terror infrastructures in northern Samaria, focusing on the Islamic Jihad terror organization.

This terror attack proves yet again that the Palestinian terror organizations have no reservations regarding the execution of terror attacks, even at the cost of compromising the economic, spiritual and national interests of the Palestinian public.

Following the attack encirclements have been placed on the cities of Tulkarm and Kalkiliya.

This suicide bombing, which was intended to be carried out in a heavily populated civilian location inside Israel, during a national holiday, was prevented only due to the effectiveness of the security measures taken in light of the intelligence information.

The IDF will continue to implement its policy of easing restrictions for the Palestinian population but at the same time will continue to act with determination to defend the citizens of Israel. The IDF further wishes to emphasize that corresponding Palestinian security apparatuses must operate against terror organizations.