TEL AVIV - Four people, three men and one woman, were killed and more than 50 were injured after a suicide bomber detonated himself at the entrance to a club near the Tel Aviv beach promenade Friday night.
Three men, ages 28, 37, and 40, and a 27-year-old woman were killed in the attack.
Among those killed are:
- Itzhak Buzaglo, 40, of Mishmar Hayarden
- Yael Aurbach, 28, Rehovot
According to Abu Kabir Forensics Institute estimations, those who were killed from the blast stood in close vicinity to the suicide bomber upon detonation; shrapnel and nails shattered their vital organs, killing them on the spot.
One of the bodies recovered at the scene may be that of the suicide bomber, the police said.
The explosion took place at the Stage nightclub on the corner of Herbert Samuel and Jonah the Prophet Streets around 11:30 p.m.
Rescue forces were promptly dispatched to the scene and began treating the wounded.
First time visiting a Tel Aviv club
Itzhak Buzaglo and his wife Linda arrived at the club to celebrate a friend's surprise birthday party. It was the first time ever the couple had gone to a Tel-Aviv club, friends said.
The explosion killed Itzhak instantly and his wife Linda is in serious condition.
The injured are suffering from blast wounds typical for a terror attack, Ichilov Hospital Deputy Director Avi Asner said.
"There are no children among them, the youngest ones are in their 20s, but some older people were injured" he said.
The explosive charge contained shrapnel that caused serious injuries, another hospital official said.
At least 3 Americans injured
Among the injured was Arieh Sasson, a 17-year-old New Yorker in Israel on a two-month trip.
"I was at a store near the scene of the blast. There was a lot of blood," he said. Two more Americans were also taken to hospital for treatment.
The explosion occurred below the club, D.J. Yinon Cohen said following the blast.
"A bleeding security guard came up to the club's second floor," he said. "We ran down after him. There were injured people around as well as damaged cars and shattered glass."
A kiosk owner in the area told Ynetnews the blast was so loud he thought the entire building had collapsed.
"All the merchandise fell off the shelves…suddenly bleeding casualties started coming our way," he said.
Two people who arrived at the club raised the suspicion of the nightspot's security guard, who started following them, the police said. One of the suspects promptly blew himself up, while the other one reportedly ran away.
Police are not certain whether the second suspect is related to the bomber, Police Chief Moshe Karadi said.
"We are taking all necessary measures to confirm or refute the report," he said.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai arrived at the scene as police were closing off roads in the area. Police have asked the public to remain away from the scene.
Bomber came from West Bank
The suicide bomber was identified as Abdullah Badran, 21, from the village of Dir el-Asun, located north of Tulkarm.
Following the attack, IDF forces operated in the village and have apprehended a number of suspects, including the bomber's two brothers and the local Imam (Muslim leader).
Meanwhile, the police have declared a high terror alert across the country and dispatched a helicopter in an effort to locate the second suspect.
The Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades initially claimed responsibility for the attack, but later denied any connection. Senior Palestinian Authority officials condemned the bombing and said they accept the later denials.
A Hamas spokesperson said his group is still committed to maintaining the current calm.
A source at the Palestinian Authority said it would "not be silent" about the shattering of the truce and would pursue whoever planned the attack and "inflict the required punishment".
Despite denials, members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Islamic Jihad reportedly fired in the air in celebration after hearing of the attack.
Mofaz says Israel will take necessary action
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has already spoken with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and is set to hold a special situation assessment with top security officials Saturday.
Mofaz said Israel regards the terror attack in Tel Aviv very seriously and will take the necessary measures to protect its citizens.
Minister of Internal Security Gideon Ezra said the bombing in Tel Aviv would not affect the Gaza disengagement plan.
He said Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas had stationed police forces in Gaza but he had not assumed responsibility for the West Bank. If the attacks continue, he said, Israel would not continue easing restrictions on the Palestinians and would be forced to return to targeted killings.
Knesset Member Ehud Yatom (Likud) said, “despite Israel’s efforts and generous gestures toward the Palestinians, the terror organizations want to continue the murder spree.”
“We must make it clear to Abu-Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) that we would not be satisfied with superficial acts alone, and we must demand that he dismantle the terror infrastructures for good," he said.
Several hotlines have been opened up to the public:
- Ichilov Hospital 12 55 133
- Sheba Medical Center 12 55 131
- Beilinson Hospital 12 55 134
Wolfson Hospital 12 55 135
The city of Tel Aviv 12 55 03 66 66