"We condemn this act as we always condemn these acts," Arafat said, before hinting that it could have been carried out by the Israelis.

  

"You know who is behind these acts," he told reporters on Sunday at his West Bank offices. "Europe knows it, the Americans know it, the Israelis know it."

  

Arafat has previously accused members of the Israeli secret services of having perpetrated attacks against Israel.

  

The blast near a bust stop on Sunday killed a 19-year-old female army surgeon and wounded 20 people.

 

Responsibility

 

The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, an armed faction which pledges loyalty to Arafat, purportedly claimed responsibility for the bombing.

 

Arafat condemned the blast

Tel Aviv police chief Yossi Sedbon told army radio that evidence suggested an explosive device had been planted and went off during the morning rush hour.

"This was not a suicide bomber but a device planted next to the bus station in a bunch of weeds," Sedbon said.

Emergency workers said at least one of the wounded was in a critical condition.

Hysteria

"I was driving to work when I heard the boom," said eyewitness Shlomi Ben Amo on Israel Radio. "A female soldier flew in the air. There was hysteria and everything flew into the air."

A spokesman believed to be from the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade said it was carried out to avenge crimes committed by Israeli forces in the West Bank town of Nablus and in the Gaza Strip, where occupation troops recently carried out deadly attacks.

The blast came one day after several Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers. 

"Europe knows it, the Americans know it, the Israelis know it"

Yasir Arafat,
Palestinian leader

Israeli tank fire killed four Palestinians in Gaza on Saturday and shot dead a teenage girl in Rafah.

In a separate incident, a pregnant Palestinian woman was shot by Israeli occupation troops in Bait Hanun.

On Monday morning, a handicapped Palestinian in his 70s
was crushed to death when occupation forces demolished his
home in the southern Gaza Strip.

Medics in the southern town of Khan Yunis said Ibrahim
Khalafala, 75, was found dead under the rubble of his home shortly after Israeli troops pushed into the area and razed the building during a pre-dawn raid.