Image: Israeli soldiers at site of explosion.
Mustafa Abu Dayeh  /  Reuters
Israeli soldiers examine the scene of an explosion close to an army checkpoint near the West Bank city of Tulkarm on Thursday.
updated 12/30/2005 4:05:31 AM ET 2005-12-30T09:05:31

The Islamic Jihad militant group claimed responsibility Friday for a suicide bombing in the West Bank that killed one soldier and two other Palestinians.

Islamic Jihad activists in the West Bank village of Atil, near Tulkarem, announced on loudspeakers that their bomber, Sohieb Ibrahim Yassin, 19, carried out Thursday’s attack.

The suicide bombing took place just south of Tulkarem. The bomber was in a taxi that was stopped at the roadblock set up because of warnings a suicide bomber was headed toward Israel.

After getting out with two others, the bomber detonated an explosives belt concealed beneath a large overcoat, the Israeli army said. A 21-year-old army officer was killed, along with the bomber’s accomplice and taxi driver.

Islamic Jihad has carried out all six suicide bombings since Israel and the Palestinians declared a cease-fire last February. Israel has been targeting Islamic Jihad leaders in arrest raids in the West Bank and airstrikes in Gaza.

Palestinian official Saeb Erekat condemned the bombing and called on all groups to honor the cease-fire. “The Palestinian Authority is committed to the cessation of violence,” he said.

Violence in Gaza has increased since Israel pulled out in September, destroying its 21 settlements. Israeli artillery shelled northern Gaza for a second day after declaring a six square-mile area next to the border a “no-go” zone, an attempt to stop a rash of rocket firing by Palestinian militants.

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