Suicide bomber kills four in Israeli resort
Last Updated: 11:28am GMT 29/01/2007
This was a suicide bombing and the bomber is one of the dead. He apparently entered with a bag or an explosives belt and blew himself up inside the shop," a police officer in the town told Israel's Army Radio.
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Four people died when a suicide bomber hit the seaside resort of Eilat this morning.
Police survey body fragments from the blast|
It is thought to be the first suicide bombing to strike Israel's southernmost city, a holiday destination popular with Israelis and foreign tourists.
The bomber struck at a bakery in the town, which is situated at the northern edge of the Red Sea, at around 9.30am local time.
Three people already inside the shop and the bomber himself died in the assault, the first suicide attack in Israel for almost nine months.
Three groups have already claimed responsibility for the attack: Islamic Jihad, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and a previously unknown organisation called that Army of Believers.
A spokesman for Hamas in Gaza called the attack a "natural response" to Israeli military policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as its ongoing boycott of the Hamas-led Palestinian government.
Fawzi Barhoum said: "So long as there is occupation, resistance is legitimate".
He also said attacks on Israel were preferable to the recent bout of Palestinian infighting in Gaza between Hamas and the more moderate Fatah Party of President Mahmoud Abbas.
He added: "The right thing is for Fatah weapons to be directed toward the occupation not toward Hamas".
Local police at first said the explosion was caused by a gas leak, a reaction that itself showed the degree to which Eilat is usually immune from the violence that has been endemic in the rest of the country in recent years.
The Jerusalem Post reported that warnings of a suicide attack in Eilat had been given in the past few days and there was a possibility that the attacker had infiltrated from another country, but this was not confirmed by the security forces.