2 Bombs Injure 13 in Tel Aviv; Netanyahu Blames Palestinian Guerrillas

From Times Wire Services

Two bombs concealed in trash cans exploded within minutes of each other in a slum area of south Tel Aviv on Thursday evening, injuring at least 13 people.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed the bombings on Palestinian guerrillas. "It is clear to us now, almost beyond any doubt, that this was a terrorist attack," he said.

Israel had been expecting an attack by radical Palestinians hoping to scuttle efforts to complete an Israeli-Palestinian agreement on an Israeli troop pullout in the occupied West Bank. Israelis also feared an attack avenging last week's shooting of five Palestinians by an off-duty Israeli soldier in the West Bank city of Hebron.

The explosives, believed to be pipe bombs packed with nails for greater destruction, went off just before 8:30 p.m. in the Neve Shaanan pedestrian walkway near an abandoned bus station in the center of the city's large foreign worker community.

Police detained an Arab suspected of having planted the bombs, Israel's Army Radio reported.

Yitzhak Daroush, 46, said he heard the sound of the first explosion, "hesitated and then approached." Within a few minutes "we heard the second explosion nearby just outside a nuts shop," he said. He said the damage to the area appeared minimal.

Shuki Gutman, a spokesman for the Magen David Adom ambulance service, said 13 people had been injured, with four in serious condition.

The blasts occurred about a mile from the Defense Ministry, where Netanyahu was meeting with U.S. envoy Dennis Ross in an effort to bridge the remaining gaps blocking an agreement with the Palestinians. Army Radio said the session ended early today without a breakthrough.

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