Homicide bomber kills 10 in Jerusalemgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Current News - Homefront Preparations : One Thread
DEATH BUS By URI DAN
November 21, 2002 -- JERUSALEM - A homicide bomber killed at least 10 people and himself this morning in a bloody rush-hour attack on a packed Jerusalem bus that carried many schoolchildren, officials said.
Forty-three people were injured - seven critically - in the 7:20 a.m. explosion in the forward-center area of the bus, authorities said.
"I heard the explosion and then I heard screaming," a witness told Israel Radio. "I saw people hanging out the windows."
"Where is my sister? Where is my brother?" onlookers cried as police surrounded the destroyed No. 20 bus, which was headed from Jerusalem's Kiryat Menachem district to the central part of the city.
Parents covered their children's eyes as they walked them past the bomb scene, which is near a school.
"All I saw was flesh, hands, feet," said Israel Radio's witness. "You smell dust and burning and flesh burning."
The injured were rushed to the nearby Hadassah Ein-Karem Hospital.
Though nobody took immediate responsibility for the attack, Hamas spokesman Abdul Aziz Rantisi praised it to the Arab TV channel Al Jazeera.
"We will kill all the Zionist criminals because they are killing our children," Rantisi said.
Israeli officials suspect Hamas involvement in the attack, which occurred in an area of the city accessible from Bethlehem, a town returned to Palestinian control two months ago.
"We are investigating how the suicide bomber managed to arrive at this neighborhood and explode himself inside the bus," said Israeli police commander Shlomo Ahronishky.
But officials said whether or not the attack was a Hamas operation, the entire Palestinian leadership is also to blame.
"The responsibility is on the shoulders of the Palestinian Authority - on Yasser Arafat. It's their responsibility," said Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert.
Though homicide bombers have struck several times recently in Israel, Jerusalem has not had a homicide bombing since a July 31 blast in a Hebrew University cafeteria killed nine.
Israel has issued several terror alerts in recent days, warning citizens of possible bomb attacks.
"The terrorist offensive against us is still at its height, and let's not have any illusions about it," said Olmert. "We have to go on with our routine lives, but be on alert for the threats."
Palestinian terror organizations are believed to be trying to influence the election campaign underway in Israel, in hopes of decreasing the chances of a new conservative Likud government.
The current Likud government, headed by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, has taken a hard line against Palestinian terror.
Yasser Arafat yesterday welcomed Israel's new dovish opposition Labor Party leader as the man who could revive the Mideast peace process begun by slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
-- Anonymous, November 21, 2002