Suicide bomber kills 14 in northern Israeli city
HAIFA, Israel (CNN) -- A suicide bomber set off a powerful explosion Sunday in a crowded restaurant in the northern Israeli city of Haifa, killing himself and at least 14 other people, police and medical officials said.
At least 33 people were wounded in the terror attack and taken to hospitals, authorities said. Three of the wounded were in critical condition, they said.
Dr. Zwi Ben-Yishai of the Ramban Medical Center in Haifa said that at least 14 people were killed at the scene and another person died during surgery.
Arab Israelis numbered among the dead and wounded, Haifa Mayor Amran Mitzna said.
"Unfortunately, Haifa, as other cities in Israel, is on the front. There is no front and rear now in Israel," Mitzna said. "And we are fighting for security, for a normal life. Hopefully, we will succeed."
The proper response, he said, "is first of all to be strong and to retaliate when needed. But finally we will have to sit again at the negotiation table in order to find a solution for both people to live side by side."
Arabs and Jews have long coexisted peacefully in Haifa, Mitzna said.
"Hopefully, the spirit of Haifa ... will become the spirit of all the region. We must find a way to live with each other and not to fight against each other," he said.
Izzedine al Qassam, the armed wing of the Hamas militant group, claimed responsibility for the attack and identified the bomber as a man from Jenin, a town in the West Bank.
Hamas is a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization that the U.S. State Department has labeled as a terrorist organization. The military wing has admitted responsibility for terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and well as attacks against the Israeli military.
A witness said the Haifa bomber was wearing a black jacket and looked nervous and confused before he ran into the Matza Center restaurant and detonated the explosives at about 2:45 p.m. (6:45 a.m. EST).
The explosion tore a large hole in the roof of the restaurant, caving in a wall and shattering windows.
The restaurant's owner, an Israeli Arab, said the restaurant was popular with Jews and Arabs in the area.
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