Suicide Bomber at Erez Crossing

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CBNNews.com - EREZ CROSSING, Israel - A suicide bomber blew up himself and his pickup truck early Thursday on the Palestinian side of the Erez crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Two Palestinian terror groups claimed joint responsibility for the 6:35 a.m. bombing: Islamic Jihad said they planned the attack with the help of Fatah-affiliated al-Aksa Martyrs' Brigades.

A spokesman for Islamic Jihad described the attack as "a successful martyrdom operation," though Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers fired on the truck, preventing it from reaching the crossing.

"The soldiers' deployment, readiness and conduct prevented a more serious attack," an IDF officer said. The pickup truck was filled with "hundreds of pounds of explosives," he said.

Following the massive explosion, IDF soldiers searched the area for more terrorists.

Several houses in the Israeli community of Netiv Ha'asara were damaged by the blast and the IDF instructed residents to remain inside their homes until they finished assessing the incident.

Like last month's well-planned terror attack at the Kerem Shalom crossing, in which 13 IDF soldiers were wounded, Palestinians used a combined assault with explosive-laden vehicles and gunfire.

The IDF believes Palestinians are trying to kidnap more Israelis to use as bargaining chips for the release of Palestinian prisoners serving time for terror attacks.

Sources: Haaretz, YNet news

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