Jerusalem — Israeli air and ground attacks in the Gaza Strip killed nine Hamas fighters Tuesday as the armed Palestinian movement asserted responsibility for a suicide bombing that had killed an Israeli woman a day earlier.
If proved to be the work of Hamas, Monday's suicide bombing in the southern Israeli town of Dimona would be the first by the militant group within Israel since 2004.
Hamas said the two Palestinians who carried out the attack were from the West Bank city of Hebron. Many Israelis speculated Monday that the bomber and an accomplice had left Gaza after Palestinians last month demolished much of the border wall that divides the territory from Egypt, allowing hundreds of thousands of Gazans to exit and re-enter the strip unhindered.
Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since June, does not recognize the state of Israel and is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel. Suicide bombers affiliated with the group killed hundreds of Israelis from the mid-1990s until Hamas announced a 2005 cease-fire.