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Friday, 24 May, 2002, 09:39 GMT 10:39 UK
Second Tel Aviv attack averted
Police examine the wreckage of the exploded car in Tel Aviv
Police say the man tried to ram his car into the packed club
A man has attempted to bomb a night club in Tel Aviv where hundreds of people were partying but was stopped by a security guard, Israeli police say.


The Palestinian Authority continues to refuse to rein in the murderous terror elements under its control and we saw the results in Tel Aviv

David Baker, Israeli spokesman

The attack - in which a suspected Palestinian militant was killed and two other people injured - is the second near-miss for the city in 24 hours.

On Thursday, a device was detonated under the cab of a tanker at a major fuel depot north of Tel Aviv.

Following the attempted attack, Israel continued its incursions into Palestinian-controlled territory, blowing up three factories in the Gaza Strip overnight.

'Miracle'

A guard at the Studio 49 club said he saw the attacker racing towards the club in a car and opened fire, at which point the booby-trapped vehicle exploded

"A big tragedy was averted here", said city police commander Yossi Sedbon.

He said the explosion spread pipe bombs around the area which were being made safe by police.

Police examine the body of the man killed in the explosion at Club 49
Police say it was the second attempted bombing in Tel Aviv in hours
Mr Sedbon reportedly praised the quick reactions of the night club guard, Eli Federman.

"I fired one bullet at him. He fell out of the car and blew up," Mr Federman said. "After the blast, I shot him twice in the head...and then moved closer and emptied the rest of the clip into his head."

Although no-one has admitted organising the attack, an official in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office blamed Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority for failing to prevent it.

"The Palestinian Authority continues to refuse to rein in the murderous terror elements under its control and we saw the results in Tel Aviv," David Baker said.

Disaster averted

The two Tel Aviv attacks are evidence, say experts, of a new pattern in militant activity focusing on strategic targets.

Police say the fire at the fuel depot could have been disastrous had it spread to fuel tanks.

Burnt-out lorry in front of fuel depot
Had the fire from the fuel depot spread, the results would have been catastrophic
Mr Sedbon described it as a "miracle" that the depot - which is located in a densely populated area - had not ignited.

The Tel Aviv suburb of Rishon Letzion was also the scene of an attack late on Wednesday, when a Palestinian blew himself up, killing two Israelis.

The Palestinian Authority condemned the bombing.

But the militant al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attack, vowed to carry out more suicide bombings in response to the killing of one of their leaders.

Gaza raid

Late on Thursday night, Israeli tanks rolled into Palestinian-controlled territory, blowing up three factories in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli army alleged that one of them made rockets that had been used to fire at Jewish settlements.

Palestinian officials said there were no casualties.

The army also said that it detained five Palestinians near the West Bank city of Hebron suspected of involvement in "terrorist activities".

On Thursday, 22 suspected Palestinian militants were arrested in Hebron and villages around Jenin.


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20 May 02 | Middle East
23 May 02 | Middle East
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