The explosion occurred on Sunday in the resort town of Haifa. Fifteen people were injured, none gravely. The incident comes less than a week after a suicide bomber killed 15 people in a crowded Jerusalem pizzeria.
The bomber in Sunday’s attack was identified as 28-year-old Mohammed Mahmoud Nasr. The Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility.
Eighty-four Palestinian suicide bombers have tried to blow themselves up at various Israeli military or civilian targets since 1993. More than a third of these incidents occurred since September 2000, when the latest uprising began.
Sunday’s violence was not limited to Haifa. In the West Bank, an eight-year old Palestinian girl was killed in crossfire, with initial reports indicating that Israeli soldiers fired the shots.
Speaking from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, President Bush urged both sides to do more to end the bloodshed. The president said he believes Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat could “do a lot more to be convincing the people on the street to stop these acts of terrorism.”
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield flew to Israel to help broker an end to the immediate violence. Meanwhile, the Islamic militant group Hamas reported that Arafat’s security agents arrested four of its members, including one suspected in last week’s deadly Jerusalem suicide bombing.
Despite the arrests, Israeli officials blame the bombings on Arafat, insisting that the leader has not done enough to end the violence.
Israeli President Ariel Sharon has agreed to let Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres initiate talks with Palestinian officials to contain the violence. The two are at odds over the next step in peace talks with Palestine.