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Bombing in Israel's Tel Aviv kills 5 -medics

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TEL AVIV, Apr 17 (Reuters) A suspected Palestinian suicide bomber killed at least five people at a sandwich stand in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv today and wounded dozens more, medics said.

The bombing occurred near Tel Aviv's old central bus station. The ZAKA emergency service put the number of dead at six, including the bomber. The Magen David Adom ambulance service initially estimated the number of wounded at 30.

''It was a huge explosion. It was an unbelievable sight,'' Yossi Bar, a taxi driver, told Israel Radio.

The attack occurred as acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was in the middle of forming a coalition government and three weeks after the Islamic militant group Hamas took control of the Palestinian government.

Live television pictures showed bystanders with blood on their shirts. Ambulances and police vehicles rushed to the scene.

Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, also know as Abu Mazen, said: ''I condemn this attack on behalf of President Abu Mazen, and I urge all Palestinian factions to observe a cessation of violence. Such attacks harm Palestinian interests.'' There was no immediate Israeli government reaction, but Olmert in the lead-up to elections on March 28 had promised to use an ''iron'' first against Palestinian militants.

The last suicide bombing inside Israel was on January 19 when only the bomber died. The latest explosion was close to the scene of that attack.

REUTERS SI RAI1653

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