21 dead in israel bombing

  1. Yak
    13,672 Posts.
    Dont ya luvvvvv this ceasefire??

    And georgie girl - now have ya got an inkling why pro-Palestinian speakers tend to get muzzled

    Theyre more often than not voices for the terrorists

    Jerusalem bus blast, 21 dead
    From correspondents in Jerusalem
    August 20, 2003

    A SUICIDE bomber today blew up a bus packed with observant Jews returning from the Western Wall, killing at least 20 people and wounding more than 100 in one of the deadliest bombings in the past three years of fighting.

    Several children were among the dead and wounded.

    The militant Islamic Jihad group claimed responsibility, in a call to The Associated Press, saying it was avenging the killing of a senior operative by Israeli troops in an arrest raid last week.

    The bombing threatened to derail a United States-backed peace plan. In a first move, Israel called off the planned handover of the West Bank towns of Jericho and Qalqiliya to Palestinian control. The handover was to have taken place later this week.

    The blast went off shortly after 9pm local time (4am AEST), as the crowded tandem bus drove along a main thoroughfare in Jerusalem and another bus pulled in front of it, witnesses said.

    "It was the No. 2 bus that came from the Western Wall," said a motorist, Jacob Bitnovsky. "It was a double bus. I heard a huge blast, and when I turned around I saw parts of the bus flying everywhere. I got out of the car and ran. There was a lot of smoke and running. I saw a child on the ground gasping for air."

    The bus had started out at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest shrine, and was headed to an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood, making it likely that many of the passengers were religious Jews.

    A second bus passing nearby when the explosion went off was also badly damaged, with windows blown out. Rescuers had to use blow torches to get out some of the injured.

    "What is clear is that it was a very big bomb," said Jerusalem fire chief Amnon Amir.

    Shocked survivors, including several crying children with blood-smeared faces, were led away from the scene. A paramedic cradled a little girl in his arms, and two others led away an older woman.

    Paramedics treated wounded on the sidewalk, and body parts were strewn on the sidewalk.

    Jerusalem Police Chief Mickey Levy said more than 15 people were killed. Police spokesman Gil Kleiman, Israel Army Radio and rescue service workers put the number of dead at 20. Israeli officials don't include the bomber in the death toll.

    Fourteen of the wounded were in critical condition.

    Israeli government spokesman Dore Gold said Israel was paying the price for the Palestinian Authority's inability to rein in militants.

    "Israel will have to protect it's population," he said, saying Israeli leaders had yet to decide on their response.

    Palestinian legislator Saeb Erekat condemned the bombing.

    The explosion went off as Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas was meeting Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip to persuade them to halt attacks on Israelis.

    Palestinian militants had declared a unilateral three-month truce on June 29, but have said they would continue taking revenge for Israeli killings of their operatives.

    Hamas said it was not involved.

    "We are committed to the truce. I don't know who carried out this action," said Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a Hamas leader.
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