Facebook Twitter

5 INJURED AT JEWISH SITE IN 2ND LONDON BOMBING

SHARE 5 INJURED AT JEWISH SITE IN 2ND LONDON BOMBING

A car bomb exploded early Wednesday outside a building housing Jewish groups, the second blast in 12 hours aimed at Israeli targets and blamed on Muslim radicals bent on derailing Middle East peace.

Five people were injured in Wednesday's attack and 14 in the bombing of the Israeli Embassy on Tuesday. Both buildings were seriously damaged.Police in London promised round-the-clock protection Wednesday to more than 100 Jewish and Israeli sites, after being accused of a lax response to the embassy bombing. Parking at those places will be strictly regulated, police said.

After the first blast, Scotland Yard banned parking in front of some main buildings used by London's Jewish community. But the action did not apply to Balfour House, hit by a bomb before dawn Wednesday.

The north London building holds offices of Israeli and Jewish organizations including the Joint Israel Appeal, which raises funds for charities in Israel and Britain.

"A car went up in a huge explosion," said one witness, Paul Clifford. "I was nearly shaken off my feet."

Five people were treated for shock and minor cuts from flying glass.

Alan Fox, executive chairman of the Appeal, said no one was in the three-story building at the time, but all the windows were blown out. About 85 people work there in the day.

Tuesday afternoon, a car bomb destroyed a two-story brick annex between the Israeli Embassy and the consulate. All but one of the 14 people injured - a man with a broken arm - were released after treatment for cuts, smoke inhalation and shock.

The Foreign Office said it heard from an undersecretary in Cairo that Hamas, a Muslim fundamentalist movement, had claimed responsibility for the embassy bombing. But a Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, the movement's base, said he knew of no such claim.

Hamas has been the leading opponent of the PLO-Israeli agreement that granted autonomy to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank town of Jericho.

The Israeli military attache in London said British police could have taken more steps after the embassy bombing to protect Jews in Britain.

"Our people gave their evaluation to the British authorities that there was a danger now to the Jewish institutions and, here you are - there was a blast in the middle of the night," Brig. Gen. Azriel Nevo said.

Scotland Yard said police had been making regular checks and officers were close by at the time of the second explosion. London's metropolitan police commissioner said there was no way to protect thousands of potential targets.

The London bombings came after Israel and Jordan formally ended more than four decades of hostility and pledged to normalize relations.

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel, speaking in Washington after the embassy bombing but before Wednesday's attack, pre-dicted a wave of attacks by "radical Islamic terrorists" waging "all out war."

A Jewish community center in Argentina was bombed on July 18, killing at least 95 people. Authorities in Panama on Tuesday said a bomb caused the July 19 crash of a commuter plane that killed all 21 people aboard, including 12 Jews.

An anti-Israel group in Lebanon indirectly claimed responsibility for both of those bombings.

Tuesday's embassy bombing was the first attack on a Jewish target in the British capital since Shlomo Argov, then the Israeli ambassador, was crippled in an assassination attempt in 1982. Shortly thereafter, Israel invaded Lebanon.

Police were looking for a well-dressed, middle-aged woman, carrying a bag from Harrods depart-ment store, seen leaving a gray Audi parked near the Israeli Embassy on Tuesday. Two security men began walking toward her, but as they approached, the car blew up. The woman disappeared in the confusion.

But Metropolitan Police Commissioner Paul Condon said a single suspect had not been identified.

"This level of sophistication of operation by the terrorists, we would normally expect that to involve state-sponsored terrorism, or groups that have been in existence for a long time and have the capacity to do these sort of acts," Condon told British Broadcasting Corp. radio.

"That narrows down the list to a handful, and we are looking at all those possibilities now," Condon said.

*****

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Suspect detained

The person who sold a truck used in the bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires has been detained, Argentina's president said.

The death toll in the July 18 attack climbed to 95 on Tuesday.

A Renault Traffic loaded with explosives blew up in front of the seven-story building. Investigators found the vehicle's engine in a crater in front of the building Tuesday, said Zeev Livneh, commander-in-chief of Israel's civil defense.

Israeli and Argentine government officials say they suspect Middle East terrorists planned the attack with help from residents.