Woman killed, 38 wounded in Dimona suicide bombing

dimona attack map (photo credit: )
dimona attack map
(photo credit: )
"Monday's terror attack gives us a painful reminder that we must be vigilant and maintain our readiness in all areas," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said hours after a 20-year-old woman was killed and 38 people were wounded, one critically, in a suicide bombing in a Dimona commercial center. "We are waging a war on terror. It is continuing without bounds and we will get to everyone involved in terror activity," said Olmert during a Kadima faction meeting. Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that the attack justified his decision to remain in the coalition. "If someone among us needed a greater understanding regarding the complexity of the situation we're in, unfortunately, he could have found it today in Dimona," Army Radio quoted Barak as saying. Police said the bombing was carried out by two attackers, but only one succeeded in detonating his explosives. The other terrorist was killed - seconds before he could detonate his explosives belt - by Kobi Mor, a police officer from an elite unit who happened to be at the scene. The Aksa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for planning the attack, saying it had been in the works for about a month. In a press conference convened by the terror group, the two bombers were named as Mussa Arafat, from Khan Yunis, a member of the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades - the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Aksa operative Luwi Luwani from the Gaza Strip. Aksa spokesman Abu Fouad said that the two bombers entered Israel from Egypt after Hamas blew up the Gaza-Egypt border wall. However, the claim was later denied by the group. Earlier, in an apparent attempt to divert attention from the Gaza connection, the group had claimed the bombers were from the West Bank. Dimona resident Rosa Elberg, said that the bomber detonated his explosives inside a café. "It is like a war, people are running like crazy," she told Channel 2. "I didn't see anyone suspicious. I heard a boom and my ears are still ringing." Another eyewitness told Israel Radio that many people were at the commercial center at the time because of the sunny weather. Shalom Bar Avi, a journalist speaking to Channel 10, said "I am here no longer as a journalist but as a simple citizen ... I pray and hope my wife is okay." Bar Avi praised the police's quick response to the attack, and said Mor, the officer who identified the second attacker shot "four or five times ... he took no chances." Later Mor's heroism was revealed in detail: He shot the terrorist in the head, and when the latter in his last breath still tried to press the detonator button, shot him four more times and killed him. Mor managed to kill the terrorist before he could explode and without hitting his explosive belt, thus preventing a much more devastating attack. A police officer speaking to Channel 10 praised Mor's quick response and said he acted "in the best possible way, all considerations taken into account." Southern Israel has been on alert against terror attacks since Hamas breached the border with Egypt. The last suicide attacker to succeed in penetrating Israel and detonate his explosives was Muhammad Faisal Saksak, on January 29, 2007 in Eilat. Three people were killed in that attack. Details on wounded evacuated to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba can be received by phone at 1255-177. AP contributed to this report