Three people were killed and over 30 wounded in a suicide bombing at the outdoor Carmel Market in central Tel Aviv shortly after 11:00 on Monday morning. The market was full of shoppers at the time of the explosion.
The three victims of the bombing:
– Tatiana Ackerman, 32, of Tel Aviv
– Leah Levine, 64, of Givatayim
– Shmuel Levy, 65, of Jaffa.
The blast went off at a food stall selling cheese near the intersection of Rambam and Hacarmel Streets. The remains of the bomber, identified as Amar Al-Far, 16, from the Askar refugee camp in Nablus, were found nearby.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for the attack. The mid-morning attack was apparently planned for Jerusalem, security sources reported, but Tel Aviv was chosen because of strict security in the capital.
Investigation by the Israel Security Agency (ISA) later revealed taht the Palestinian suicide bomber had intended to attack the nearby French Embassy.
Following the attack, the ISA arrested two members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Nablus suspected of involvement. One of the detainees, Bassam Hundakji, is suspected of leading the suicide bomber, 16-year-old Amar Al-Faar of the Askar refugee camp, from the territories across the Green Line into Israel. Hundakji’s passage into Israel was eased by a journalist’s identification card he had obtained through the framework of his studies at Nablus’ A-Najah University.
The possibility of carrying out an attack on the American Consulate in Jerusalem was also examined. Hundakji related that the day before the attack, he came to Jerusalem, which was the originally intended target, and practiced moving around the city without alerting the suspicions of Israeli security forces. He also examined possible targets, with the help of an Arab taxi driver from East Jerusalem.
The decision to carry out the attack in Tel Aviv was made at the last minute.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said in the Knesset (Nov 1):
“This morning, Palestinian terrorism has struck again. I would like to send condolences to the families of those who were killed and my best wishes for a speedy recovery to the wounded.
The State of Israel has not stopped, and will not stop, in its war against murderous terrorism that is perpetrated against us. Today’s attack proves that there has been no change in the Palestinian Authority. Until tangible steps are taken to eliminate terrorism, disband the terrorist organizations, implement reforms and halt the incitement, Israel will continue its policy.
Words, promises and half-hearted condemnations are insufficient; we demand the full implementation of the Palestinians’ commitments.”