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Female suicide bomber kills at least 4 Israelis

An Israeli border police officer wounded in Wednesday's attack receives medical attention.
An Israeli border police officer wounded in Wednesday's attack receives medical attention.

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At least four people killed in suicide bombing at Erez border crossing.
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Acts of terror

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- A female suicide bomber killed at least four Israelis Wednesday morning at the Erez border crossing separating Israel and northern Gaza, according to Israeli military sources.

Three soldiers and one Israeli civilian were killed in the attack, as was the bomber, according to the sources. Ten people, including four Palestinians, were wounded.

Israel Radio and the Israeli daily newspaper Ha'aretz quoted Israel Defense Forces Brig. Gen. Gad Shamni, commander of the army's Gaza Division, as saying when the bomber reached the area where Palestinian workers are inspected prior to entry into Israel, she told security personnel that she had a metal plate in her leg, which could set off an alarm.

"Because she was a woman, a female soldier was sent for, to inspect her," Shamni said. "While she was waiting for the arrival of the woman soldier, [the bomber] apparently succeeded in penetrating a meter or two into the inspection hall, and blew herself up."

Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization, claimed joint responsibility for the attack with the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a military offshoot of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement.

Both groups have claimed responsibility for previous terrorist attacks against Israeli targets and have been labeled terrorist organizations by the U.S. State Department.

Hamas sources identified the suicide bomber as a 21-year-old woman from Gaza.

Shortly after the attack, Israel closed the border, where as many as 20,000 Palestinian workers cross into Israel each day.

Israeli government spokesman Avi Pazner said the groups wanted to kill as many people as possible by targeting Erez crossing at the start of the working day.

"In the last 24 hours we have seen a wave of Palestinian terrorist attacks," Pazner said. "The attack of this morning is particularly shocking, because, as a gesture of good will, Israel allows Palestinian workers to come into Israel."

The violence comes a day after an Israeli civilian was killed and two others were moderately wounded by Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank, Israeli military and medical sources said.

The gunmen opened fire Tuesday night on a car the victims were traveling in near the settlement of Talmon, not far from Ramallah, the sources said.

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