By Rami Amichai
EILAT, Israel (Reuters) – A Palestinian suicide bomber killed three people in a bakery in the Red Sea resort of Eilat, one of Israel’s most popular holiday spots, in the first such attack in the Jewish state in nine months, police said.
Islamic Jihad, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the previously unknown “Army of Believers” claimed joint responsibility for the bombing.
The attack — the first time Eilat has been hit by a suicide bombing — came four days before the so-called Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators was to meet in Washington as part of a renewed effort to revive Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.
Islamic Jihad and the Aqsa brigades said the bombing was a response to Israeli “attempts to defile al-Aqsa mosque” in Jerusalem, a reference to recent archaeological excavations. Israeli officials said the work had not damaged the shrine.
The blast tore through the “Lechamim” bakery in a residential neighbourhood far from a strip of beach hotels. Loaves of bread, still on trays, lay on the blood-stained pavement outside.
“I saw a man with a black coat and a bag. For Eilat, where it is hot, it is strange to see someone walking with a coat. I said to myself, ‘Why is this idiot dressed that way?’ Seconds later, I heard a huge blast. The building shook,” Benny Mazgini, a local resident, told Israel Radio.
The identities of the victims were not released.
The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is, of course, another name for Fatahâ€”the party of so-called “moderate” Mahmoud Abbas.
The “moderate” who just received $100 million from Israel, and more than $80 million from the United States.
UPDATE at 1/29/07 8:49:47 am:
Here’s the gloating announcement of responsibility from Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, translated by Google: Translated version of http://www.kataebaqsa1.com/…. (Hat tip: Tom Gross.)
Notice the photo of Yasser Arafat next to it.