Two Soldiers Killed, Six People Injured in Suicide Bombing Near Binyamina

Islamic Jihad claims responsibility for attack; PA condemns bombing, calls for end to violence and incitement

A suicide bomber blew himself up at 7:35 P.M. on Monday evening on a street near the Binyamina train station, killing two soldiers, Staff Sergeant Avi Ben Harush, 20, from Zichron Yaakov and a woman, and injuring six other people. Two of the injured sustained serious wounds, and four were lightly wounded. The injured have been evacuated to the Hillel Yaffeh Medical Center in Hadera.

The station is located between Tel Aviv and Haifa. Security forces immediately stopped the trains from running between the two major cities.

Al Manar television station, which is run by the Lebanon-based guerilla group Hezbollah, said Monday night that it had received a fax from Islamic Jihad claiming responsibility for the attack. The missive named the bomber as 20-year-old Nidal Shaduf, reportedly from a village close to the West Bank city of Jenin.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 16th Maccabiah Games in Jerusalem on Monday night, Sharon referred to the attack as "harsh and dreadful, reflecting the fact that the Palestinian Authority has not yet decided to do everything possible to thwart terrorism."

Israeli security sources said that Israel would have to react strongly to the attack. They said that the PA has not made a sincere effort to stop such attacks, despite extensive information passed on by the Israeli security forces.

Participants in deliberations on the extent of the retaliatory attack said that the Maccabiah Games should be taken into account for fear that an extensive attack could lead to a serious deterioration of relations with the PA.

The Palestinian Authority condemned the bombing in a statement released Monday. "The Palestinian leadership expresses its condemnation of the incident which led to the killing of civilians and calls for a cessation of all violent actions and incitement by all parties," said the official statement.

The Authority reiterated its "commitment to the cease-fire decision" and urged the implementation of broader U.S.-led proposals for renewing peace talks to end a cycle of violence "which contributes to a state of tension and instability in the whole region."

Senior sources in the Prime Minister's Office said the attack was expected and was in line with all the warnings provided by the various security sources in recent days.

Israel Radio quoted the sources saying that despite Foreign Minister Shimon Peres' meeting with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat in Cairo on Sunday, there had been no drop in the level of violence.

It was not immediately clear how the Prime Minister would react to the attack, but one of his senior advisers Ra'anan Gissin said that the response would be in line with a recent cabinet decision that the army would retaliate after every attack.

Communications Minister Reuven Rivlin blamed Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat for the blast. He told Israel television, "Arafat is sitting somewhere and smiling ... saying that you can talk with me but I am hitting you at the same time," referring to talks Arafat held Sunday in Cairo with Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.

Emergency number for Hillel Yaffeh Medical Center:1255166