No-one claimed responsibility for the attack. Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad released statements denying involvement, fearing that it would alienate support for their cause. The diplomatic mission had been on its way to Gaza City to interview applicants for scholarships in the US. The three dead were all security personnel and were travelling in the same jeep as one of the diplomats. Miraculously the diplomat survived and was initially treated at a Palestinian hospital before being transferred to an Israeli hospital.
Following the explosion American investigators arrived at the scene. The incident occurred near a Palestinian refugee camp and groups of youngsters flocked to the site. The investigators were pelted with stones as the mob chanted "Allahu akbar" (God is great). Palestinian police pushed them back, but ultimately the Americans had to withdraw after hurriedly retrieving the bodies.
|Palestinian investigators at the scene, the wrecked jeep can be seen in the background|
The three victims were employed by US security contractor DynCorp. John Branchizio, 37, was a former Navy SEAL from San Antonio, Texas. A divorcee, he was survived by his eight-year-old son. John Linde, 30, was a former US Marine from Washington, Missouri. He was survived by his wife. The third victim was 31-year-old New Yorker Mark Parson.