Arafat condemns deadly Tel Aviv blast

At least 4 people killed Monday in explosion in Tel Aviv.

An ailing Yasser Arafat condemned Monday's suicide bombing in a Tel Aviv market that killed four people, including the 16-year-old Palestinian suicide bomber.

Arafat, whose condition is reportedly improving since he was rushed to a Paris hospital, "appealed to all Palestinian factions to commit to avoid harming all Israeli civilians," his spokesman said.

Arafat also urged Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon "to take similar initiatives to avoid harming Palestinian civilians."

Arafat's wife, Suha, used a cellphone to dictate the statement to a spokesman. Arafat also spoke directly to his spokesman, asking the statement be circulated.

Three Jewish bystanders died when the Palestinian youth, identified as Eli Amer Alfar from a refugee camp near Nablus, blew himself up in an open-air market in central Tel Aviv.

About 32 people were also injured in the blast at the city's Carmel market, which is full of fruit and vegetable stands in a series of narrow streets and alleyways.

Israeli police say they are searching for a car that may have carried the bomber, who had about five kilograms of explosives – about half the amount usually used by suicide bombers.

The young bomber's mother denounced whatever militants had persuaded the boy to carry the bomb as "immoral," saying only adults who can understand the consequences of their actions should carry out such deeds.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a radical faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization faction, has claimed responsibility for the bombing. There was no immediate verification of the claim.

It's the first suicide attack in Israel since September when two police officers were killed in Jerusalem. Before that, 16 people were killed in twin bus bombings on Aug. 31 in the desert city of Beersheba.

The attack comes as Palestinian officials say Arafat's condition has improved since he was rushed from the West Bank to Paris on Friday.

Arafat underwent tests for a viral infection and other ailments Sunday, after doctors ruled out life-threatening illness for the ailing Palestinian leader.