The residents of Tel Aviv's Naveh Sha'anan neighborhood are no strangers to terrorist attacks. But on Thursday, minutes after a suicide bomber struck inside a local shwarma stand, they flocked into the streets and watched, fascinated, as police sappers swept the scene.
A poor and neglected neighborhood, Naveh Sha'anan has an interesting mixture of residents, including foreign workers, drug addicts and Palestinians illegally in Israel.
Some locals were quick to charge that Israeli Arabs from Jaffa were to blame for the attack; others pointed a finger at the police for allowing the illegal Palestinians to live among them.
"All of the Arabs should be killed," pronounced one woman who lives down the block from the scene of the attack. "This neighborhood is very scary. The Palestinians live here, the police know they live here but they don't do anything. What they need to do is kick them all out of here."
In January 2003, 23 people were killed and some 120 were wounded in a double suicide bombing around the corner from Thursday's attack. In July 2002, three people were killed after two suicide bombers blew themselves up just outside the old Tel Aviv bus station.
Arieh Sharon - owner of the Rosh Ha'ir shwarma stand where Thursday's blast took place - said he spotted the bomber right before the explosion. "He looked like he was in his thirties, was bald and had a goatee," Sharon said. "In the beginning he asked people if they wanted to buy razor blades and then he blew himself up."
Another of the locals, Santiago - who hails from the Philippines - said he was sitting in his house munching on an afternoon snack when he heard the bang.
"I rushed out of my house to see what happened," he said. "This is a scary neighborhood but we need to keep on living."
Tomer, 17, who also lives nearby, said he had eaten at the shwarma stand "millions of times... The food there is really good. I plan to go back and eat there in the future but," he echoed, "what they need to do is kill all of the Arabs."
One woman said that just last week, Arabs broke into her house in the middle of the night and stole her purse.
"The police are scared to come into the neighborhood and clean it up," she said. "They are just leaving us vulnerable to future attacks."
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