Daily Israel Report

Rush-Hour Terrorist Bombing on Major Highway Kills 4, Injures 24

A terrorist bomb ripped through a bus stop at the Geha junction in Petah Tikvah at around 6:30 PM. Three women and one man were killed and 24 injured.
First Publish: 12/25/2003, 9:09 PM / Last Update: 12/25/2003, 6:57 PM

The explosion occurred at a bus stop located under the bridge at the Geha junction near Jabotinsky street in Petach Tikva - three stops before Tel Aviv. The terror attack took place on one of Israel's busiest highways during the heights of rush hour.

Witnesses initially reported two consecutive explosions.

Yossi Sedbon, Tel Aviv district police commander, said medics and rescue workers were having difficulty reaching the scene because of heavy rush hour traffic on the busy highway. He also noted that the junction, just outside Tel Aviv, is regularly used by PA Arabs waiting for Israeli contractors looking for cheap labor to pick them up. Because of this, the suicide bomber was able to approach the bus stop without raising suspicion.

Recent “gestures” by Israel have allowed thousands of PA Arabs to enter Israel to find work.

Sedbon said that indications pointed a suicide bombing, though police were seen chasing two people near the scene, who witnesses said placed a bag at the bus stop before running away. A high security alert has been issued in the area.

The police strongly request that the public stay away from the area.

The Associated Press reports that the PFLP terrorist group has taken "credit" for the murderous attack. The terrorist, 18-year-old Shahed Hanami, was from the village of Beit Fureik, near Shechem.

Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz ordered a full closure to be re-imposed on PA cities following the attack. The closure had been lifted in honor of Christmas, a Christian holiday.

24 wounded, including two moderately injured, have been evacuated to Beilinson (Tel: 1255134 ) and Tel HaShomer (Tel: 1255131) hospitals. Israel’s Absorption Ministry’s emergency hotline can be reached at 1255081010 locally, and 011 972 125 508 1010 from abroad. People are requested to pray for the recovery of those injured.

Due to the attack, Israel’s phone company, Bezek, has cancelled its ongoing strike.