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>Israel Faxx
>JN Aug. 10, 2001, Vol. 9, No. 135

Jerusalem Bomb Kills at Least 19

By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem) &

Israeli police said at least 19 people are known dead in a suicide bomber's attack in Jerusalem. The death toll includes the Palestinian bomber and, according to CNN, at least six infants.

Jerusalem police said about 90 other people were wounded by the nail-packed bomb that ripped through a pizza restaurant at one of the city's busiest intersections shortly before 2 p,m.

The Sharro restaurant was crowded with people on their lunch break. The scene was chaotic after the blast, with the dead and injured sprawled over the pavement amid twisted metal and shattered glass. Israeli police closed off surrounding streets in case more bombs were in the area.

The suicide bomber positioned himself in the center of a crowd, and within seconds detonated a powerful charge. Among the wounded were small children and babies. The powerful blast rocked and showered the area with shards of glass, metallic fragments and nails. Eyewitnesses report that they knew immediately the blast was a terrorist bomb, adding that the sound of the explosion was ear piercing. The Sbarro Restaurant, on the corner of Jaffa Rd. and King George St. was totally destroyed in the explosion.

The scene was one of panic and horror. Bodies were strewn all over. The busy location is just a two-minute walk from the Machane Yehuda marketplace where thousands make their way to shop for the upcoming Sabbath.

Nechemia, an eyewitness, was in a nearby restaurant and described what he saw: "I saw a young girl on the ground with blood gushing from her head and mouth. She signaled me for help, and when I went over to her, I realized that I couldn't help, because I am not a medic. I ran to alert a medic of her condition, and he came over. I am in shock."

The response by emergency personnel to the blast was almost instantaneous; their units have been on heightened alert in the capital in recent weeks, in light of intelligence community warnings of impending attacks. The first police and ambulances arrived within two minutes, and began to assess the horrific site. All major hospitals in Jerusalem immediately implemented disaster plans, such as calling on all off duty personnel to report for duty.

Police state with confidence that the bomb was very big and contained a large amount of steel nails, which was immediately evident in the number of wounded arriving in area hospitals punctured by the nails. There are conflicting reports that in subsequent searches, police reportedly found and safely dismantled a pipe bomb at the scene.

At 4:13 p.m., while dozens of persons uninjured by the blast were standing near the scene, pandemonium again struck as reports of a second bombing at Jerusalem's Central Bus station spread through the crowd. Police and ambulance sirens again filled Jaffa Road, and the crowds dispersed in fear of being caught in yet another atrocity. But this second alert proved to be a false alarm. As it turned out, a tire blew on this hot August day.

As is always the case following major attacks, phone systems, especially cellular telephone providers, crashed due to the sudden demand by persons trying to reach loved ones. Telephone lines in the capital remained strained for an hour and many persons were unable to verify the whereabouts of family and friends who might have been in the area of the massacre.

Two Palestinian militant groups - Islamic Jihad and Hamas - made conflicting claims of responsibility and gave different names for the 23-year-old man they said carried the bomb.

Islamic Jihad said the attack was in retaliation for Israel's assassinations of Palestinian militants. The group warned that more suicide bombers are on the way. Reports from Israel say Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met with top officials to decide Palestinian targets to strike in response to the Jerusalem bombing.

Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat denounced the Jerusalem bombing and called on Israel to join him in declaring a joint truce.

President Bush urged Arafat to arrest the people behind the bombing. He said the Palestinian leader must take immediate sustained action to prevent future attacks. A White House spokesman said earlier that President Bush "strongly deplores this act of terror" and said it again shows the need to break the cycle of violence between Palestinians and Israelis.

Good-will Towards Israel


A childless Gentile couple from Norway has left its $4 million estate to Israel, including a luxurious summer house overlooking a scenic fjord.

A Gentile woman from Bolivia donated thousands of dollars to Israel and the IDF is to receive six fully-equipped ambulances according to a instructions in the will of a Jewish Bolivian.

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