Israel raises alert after first suicide bombing in year

Israel Materials 5 February 2008 10:18 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Israel raised its status of alert to the second- highest level and thousands of police would be deployed throughout the country Tuesday, after the first Palestinian suicide bombing in a year, Israel Radio reported.

A 73-year-old Israeli woman was killed when one suicide bomber blew himself up in a semi-enclosed shopping mall in the southern town of Dimona. Israeli police later shot dead a second would-be suicide bomber lying among the injured as he tried to reach for his detonator.

Different Palestinian militant factions claimed responsibility for the attack.

Israel's Channel 10 television noted that the videos released of the two attackers by one group, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. did not match the face and posture of one of the attackers filmed at the scene from close up - sparking fears more bombers may have crossed into Israel, possibly via Gaza's breached border with Israel.

"There are no pinpoint (intelligence) warnings, but in all the number of warnings has grown and we think that following the attack that happened in Dimona, there may be an attempt to carry out more," Superintendent Berti Ohayon, the head of the Israel Police Operational Branch, told Israel Radio.

He said roadblocks were set up at city entrances and larger numbers of forces were patrolling along Israel's borders. Larger patrols were also deployed in Israel's coastal plain, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Israel submitted a letter protesting the bombing to the United Nations, saying that it reserves the right to respond, Israel Radio said.