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Tel Aviv bombing scene Photo: Reuters
Tel Aviv bombing scene Photo: Reuters

Is Hizbullah behind attack?

Security officials estimate Lebanese terror group involved in Tel Aviv attack, an assessment shared by Palestinian Authority officials

By Hanan Greenberg and Ali Waked
Published: 02.26.05, 01:56 / Israel News

TEL AVIV - Hizbullah terrorists may have been involved in carrying out the suicide bombing in Tel Aviv Friday, Israeli and Palestinian officials say.


A Hizbullah source in Beirut, however, denied his group was connected to the attack, which claimed the lives of at least four people.


Security officials estimate that several terror groups may have been involved in perpetrating the attack. Earlier, both the Islamic Jihad and the Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the bombing.


Meanwhile, Fatah and Islamic Jihad members fired shots in the air in celebration following the attack.


Officials say they are convinced the terrorist came from the northern West Bank and estimated the bomber came from the town of Tul Karem. The investigation, however, is in early stages and details are still scant.


Recently, security officials warned of the growing Hizbullah involvement in attempts to carry out attacks in Israel. The group reportedly offered large sums of money to terrorists willing to target Israel.


The attack took place as Israel was in the process of lifting restrictions on the Palestinians and allowing freer passage through the West Bank. Security officials will be checking whether the relaxed security procedures helped terrorists carry out the attack.


'Foreign hands were involved'


The Palestinian Authority was quick to condemn the bombing and said the Palestinian government should not be held responsible.


There is no room for sanctions against the Authority or freezing contacts between the two sides, spokesman Saeb Erekat said.


Palestinian sources said the Islamic Jihad or any other Palestinian group have no interest in carrying out such an attack at this time.


"Foreign hands were involved in the attack," a PA source told Ynet.


Other senior Palestinian officials told Ynet they tend to agree with Israeli estimates regarding Hizbullah involvement in the bombing.


Meanwhile, a senior Palestinian security official told Ynet that an investigation into the attack has already been launched.


"The security apparatuses…would act to detain any Palestinian element involved in the attack, if it turns out Palestinians were indeed behind it," he said.


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