The bodies of all five victims in Wednesday's bombing attack in Hadera
have been identified: Pirhia Mahlouf, 53, from Hadera; Michael Kaufman, 68, from Hadera; Sabiha Nissim, 66, from Moshav Ahituv; Yaakov Rahmani, 68, from Hadera; and Jamil Ka'adan, 48, from Baka al-Gharbiya
Over 30 other people were wounded when the suicide bomber blew himself up at 3:35 p.m. Wednesday afternoon with a moderately-sized bomb while standing in line at Falafel Barzilai in Hadera's open market.
Of the wounded, six were reported to be in serious condition. Four were listed in moderate condition and the rest suffered light wounds.
Dr. Meir Oren, director of Hillel Yaffe Hospital, told Channel 2 that one woman, who sustained severe wounds to the head, was evacuated by helicopter to the Sheba Medical Center.
The Islamic Jihad
claimed responsibility for the attack. Earlier this week, the group had vowed revenge
for the killing of Louey Saadi, a top Jihad leader in the West Bank.
"Our response to this crime will be unprecedented, in accordance with the status of the man," vowed Abu-Abdullah, the group's spokesman in Gaza. Since then, the group has taken responsibility for Kassam barrages from Gaza, as well as for this latest suicide attack, executed by Hassan Abu Zeid, 20, from Kabatiya near Jenin
Sappers finished sweeping the area without locating any additional explosives.
A Hadera resident described the event: "We were sitting in the living room and heard the huge explosion. We knew it was an attack. My balcony is right above the street, and I could see everything - the smoke, the stench."
Hadera is located close to the Green Line and has been the scene of other deadly bombings
, particularly since 2000.
Internal Security Minister Gidon Ezra told Israel Radio that what allows attacks of this kind is the PA failing to prevent terrorists from leaving its territory and Israeli security forces lack of intelligence on terrorists' plans.
Hadera, Ezra explained, is close to Tulkarm
, and there are several crossings
in the area.
"In some cases," Ezra continued, "Israeli Arabs
and Jews have taken advantage of the fact that police are unable to inspect every vehicle bearing an Israeli license plate and transfer Palestinians - most of whom, of course, are simply workers - into Israel."
Ezra said that the heightened level of alert over the holidays was still in place Wednesday.
One Hadera resident was critical of security at the open market. The man, who lives a few blocks from the focus of the blast, told reporters that the area was "Very crowded, where a lot of people come to shop. Usually security people check the area, but it looks like the carelessness won out today."
Hadera police had general warnings that an attack might occur in the area, but received no specific alerts about Wednesday's bombing.
Police were reportedly in pursuit of a white car in which an additional two suspects fled from the the scene towards Wadi Ara.
As a result of the suicide attack, Highway 4 between Hadera and Netanya
was sealed off. Police were also conducting security checks on cars traveling in the direction of Modi'in
from Tel Aviv
on Highway 443, Israel Radio reported.
The last most recent deadly bombing - at a busy Netanya shopping mall
in July - was also the work of Samarian
cells of the terror organization.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat
condemned the attack and expressed hope that the relative cease in violence between Israel and the Palestinians would be maintained.
"We condemn this attack in Hadera, as we've always condemned suicide attacks on Israeli civilians, and we hope that we will not allow this attack or any attack to undermine the cessation of violence between the two sides. At the end of the day, violence breeds more violence and we don't want to go back to this vicious cycle."
Wednesday also marked the 10th anniversary of the assassination of Islamic Jihad chief Fathi Shekaki outside a Malta
hotel in a mission widely attributed to Israel.
Emergency Contact Information:
Hillel Yafeh Medical Center (Hadera): 04-6304304; emergency line: 12-55166
Laniado Hospital, (Netanya): 09-8604666; emergency line: 12-55-199
Meir Hospital (Kfar Saba): 09-7172555; emergency line: 12-55-199
Haemek Hospital (Afula): 04-6494000; emergency line: 12-55-165
Non-Hebrew speakers (Immigration and Absorption Ministry) 12-55-08-10-10
AP contributed to this report.