Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Bicycling Palestinian suicide bomber wounds two Israeli soldiers

QALQILYA, West Bank (AFP) - At least two Israeli soldiers were wounded when a bicycling Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up in the north of the West Bank, Israeli military sources said.

The attack, which was claimed by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, took place between the town of Qalqilya and the nearby village of Habla, which are linked by a tunnel.

The attacker set off the charge he was carrying near an army jeep as it was passing through a gap in Israel's separation barrier which enables Palestinians to gain access to their fields.

The cyclist had been asked by soldiers to identify himself. He then dismounted, ran towards the soldiers and blew himself up, the sources and witnesses said.

Palestinian security sources said that two Palestinians were also wounded in the attack.

In a phone call to AFP's offices in the main northern West Bank city of Nablus, an anonymous caller said the attack had been carried out by Yussef Taleb Ighbariyeh, 26, who comes from Qalqilya.

Three members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs, an armed offshoot of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (news - web sites)'s Fatah (news - web sites) movement, were killed Monday in an Israeli helicopter strike on a car in the flashpoint northern West Bank town of Jenin.

The caller said that the attack was 'a first response' to Monday's air strike, which local Brigades leader Zakaria Zubeidi had promised would be avenged within 24 hours."