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Saturday, 12 October, 2002, 01:53 GMT 02:53 UK
Suicide bomber thwarted in Tel Aviv
Security guard Mikhail Sarkisov (left)
Mikhail Sarkisov chased down the bomber
Sharp-eyed security guards near the US embassy in Tel Aviv have foiled a suicide bomb attack after a cafe guard spotted a would-be bomber and chased him away.

The incident occurred at the Hatayelet cafe about 20 metres from the embassy on the city's beachfront at 2100 (1900 GMT).


He tried to come in and I checked him with a metal detector and he beeped

Mikhail Sarkisov
Security guard
Shlomit Herzberg, chief spokeswoman for Tel Aviv police said a security guard stopped the man as he tried to enter the cafe.

She said that the man was caught with the help of guards from the US embassy and his explosive vest removed and "neutralised".

There were no reports of injury and police said they did not know of any other people involved in the attack.

Metal detector

The cafe's security guard, 30-year-old Mikhail Sarkisov, said he was alerted to the suspicious man as he tried to enter the restaurant.

"He tried to come in and I checked him with a metal detector and he beeped," Mr Sarkisov told the Associated Press.

Police move the bomber, draped in a towel
The identity of the bomber is not known

"I asked him, 'What's that?' And he said, 'It's mine.'"

"I said, 'I didn't ask whose it was, I said what is it?'" Mr Sarkisov said as he described the incident.

"He put his hand in his pocket. I know what a bomb is. I was an officer in the Russian army," he added.

Mr Sarkisov said that he grabbed the man's hands and then the would be attacker fled towards the US embassy.

"I yelled, 'Terrorist!' and ran after him," Mr Sarkisov said.

Pinned down

The embassy security guards joined the pursuit and with their help Mr Sarkisov managed to tackle the assailant, pinning him against a car.

The explosives belt was removed and a controlled explosion was carried out.


The degree of alertness on the part of the public shows a determination to fight back and not to succumb to terror

Ranaan Gissin
Spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister
"The suicide bomber is still alive - we have no-one injured in the incident," Tel Aviv police commander Uri Bar Lev told the radio.

A spokesman for Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon praised the level of vigilance displayed by the guards:

"The degree of alertness on the part of the public shows a determination to fight back and not to succumb to terror," Ranaan Gissin said.

But he blamed Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for the attack saying that he had been "making no efforts to stop terror attacks".

The attempted attack comes a day after an elderly woman died and 12 people were injured in another foiled bombing attack in Tel Aviv in which the bomber had attempted to board one of the city's buses.

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The BBC's Bob Berry
"Security at American embassies worldwide has been stepped up once more"

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