A bomb ripped through a toilet at an outdoor market in the heart of Jewish west Jerusalem Monday, killing an Arab woman who apparently was handling the explosives, police said.
They said the victim was a 24-year-old woman from the occupied West Bank."Apparently the person who was handling the charge was killed in this toilet stall," said police commissioner Yaacov Terner. There were no other casualties, he said.
The explosion occurred at about 11:30 a.m. at the Mahane Yehuda market. Terner said the woman was "torn to pieces," but a witness said she was still alive immediately after the blast.
Shopkeeper Meir Cohen said he ran into the stall and found the woman lying under a fallen door. "She was alive, the woman. I lifted her head. She moved her head as if she wanted to speak, wanted help," he said.
Cohen said she had something in her hand that he feared might be another bomb, so he ran to nearby police to summon help.
Shahar Ayalon, a senior police officer, said a bag of vegetables was found beside the woman, and "it is reasonable to assume that she intended to plant the bomb in the bag and place it on one of the adjacent streets."
The explosion apparently was relatively small. A cookie vendor 30 feet from the toilet said he heard a muffled pop that did not even shake his stall. The only exterior sign of damage to the toilet was a shattered window.
The blast occurred on the eve of the 26th anniversary of the first armed attack inside Israel by Fatah, the mainstream guerrilla arm of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Appeals were broadcast over the market's public address system for shoppers to "be wary of suspicious packages and report anything suspicious to the police immediately."
On Sunday night, a 19-year-old Palestinian was killed in an explosion near Israeli military government headquarters in the West Bank city of Nablus, the army said. It said the bomb exploded as he was priming it.