TWO British citizens were responsible for the suicide bombing of a pub in Tel Aviv early yesterday that killed three civilians and wounded 46 others.
A hunt was under way for one of the bombers, who did not detonate his charge and was believed to have it still in his possession. He is thought to have fled the scene when he saw his accomplice being blocked by a security guard.
Israeli police released an image of the passport of the dead man, Asif Mohammed Hanif, who detonated his explosives at the door. He was born on 2 August, 1981, in Bhowanj, Pakistan. The passport photograph of the wanted man, Omar Khan Sharif, born on 13 March, 1976, in Derby, was also released.
The security guard was seriously wounded as were another five people.
Reports in Jerusalem said the bombers were members of al-Qaeda or Hezbollah.
The blast came just hours before international mediators released the long awaited US-backed "road map" for Middle East peace.
Responsibility for the bombing was claimed by the al-Aqsa brigades, the militia of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement, and by Hamas, the Islamic resistance movement. It was condemned by Mahmoud Abbas, the new Palestinian prime minister.
In the past, the Iranian-inspired Hezbollah has used foreign nationals in attempted bombings, and police suspect terrorists took advantage of the British passports belonging to Sharif and Hanif in order to slip them into Israel.
Israel Television said the men entered Israel from the Gaza Strip hours before the bombing. If correct, that would mean they presented their passports in order to transit past the border at Erez, beyond which Palestinians are not allowed unless they have rarely-granted permits.