Three people have been killed and many more wounded by a suicide bomber in a bakery in Israel's Red Sea resort of Eilat, the first such attack inside the Jewish state in nine months.
"After examining the site of the explosion a connection was found between the explosives and one of the bodies and we now believe the explosion was caused by a suicide bomber," national police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP Monday.
"This was a terror-related incident."
|A Palestinian woman holds pictures of her husband, jailed in Israel,|
Israeli police had earlier said that the blast, which ripped through the Lehamim Bakery next to a small shopping centre in Eilat, had been an accident.
The blast -- the first attack directed at Eilat -- ripped through the bakery at 9:40 am (0740 GMT) and killed three people plus the suicide bomber, Rosenfeld said.
According to police, the bomber entered the bakery carrying the bomb in a backpack and then blew himself up.
Human remains were splattered outside the bakery, television images showed, as dozens of police and rescuers swarmed the site of the powerful explosion that destroyed much of the building.
"We know so far of three people killed in the explosion and several others injured," a paramedic from the Magen David Adom medical services at the site told AFP.
"We are still searching the site for other bodies," he said. "The explosion was massive and the whole place is wrecked."
It was the first attack inside Israel since April 17, 2006, when nine people were killed in Tel Aviv in a suicide bombing claimed by Islamic Jihad.
An anonymous spokesman for three Palestinian groups claimed responsibility for the bakery bombing in a telephone call to AFP.
The man claimed the bombing on behalf of the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and the previously unknown Army of Believers.
But the authenticity of his claim could not be independently verified and no official statement was released as is frequently the case after suicide attacks in Israel.
The attack comes amid tentative efforts to put the Middle East peace process back on track but also against a backdrop of deadly Palestinian factional fighting in the Gaza Strip that has left 30 people dead in four days.
Roadblocks have been set up outside of the city, which lies in the southern-most tip of Israel on the border with Egypt and Jordan, Israeli radio reported.
The last suicide bombing in Tel Aviv left nine people dead and dozens wounded after a Palestinian bomber blew himself up next to a fast food stand at lunchtime.
That blast -- the deadliest since a suicide bombing in August 2004 -- took place hours before the swearing-in of the new Israeli parliament.
Israel has been wracked by a wave of suicide bombings that reached their peak during the second Palestinian uprising or intifada that began in September 2000.
In August 2005, one of a barrage of rockets fired from the neighbouring Jordanian port of Aqaba in an Al-Qaeda claimed attack against a US warship landed next to the airport in Eilat.