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Bomb Goes Off in Jerusalem, Killing Nine

Aired August 9, 2001 - 08:32   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN ANCHOR: A little more fading hope today in the Middle East: Chaos in the center of Jerusalem as a bomb goes off this morning. Israeli medical services now telling us nine people are dead, and at least 74 people injured.

We've got Mike Hanna on the -- joining us now for more on this, for an update.

Mike, what have you got?

MIKE HANNA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Colleen, hope fading indeed. The casualty toll now more than 70 people, according to hospital sources. Hospital authorities say, too, that at least five people have been killed in the explosion, 10 of those injured are in a serious condition. The explosion occurred in a restaurant in the very middle of Jerusalem at the height of the lunch hour when the streets were at their most crowded. Police they believe it was the work of a suicide bomber. That is the supposition that they are operating on. The bomb exploded in a pizza parlor, injuring, as I said, more than 70 people, killing at least five at this stage.

The Islamic Jihad movement is reported to have claimed responsibility for the explosion. The Israeli government hasn't issued response to the blast. But Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon been kept up to date on what's happening within Jerusalem in terms of the investigation that's ongoing. And a government spokesman has said that he believes that it is a suicide bombing, and he's repeated his accusation that the Palestinian Authority must be held responsible for such attacks. This is a statement made prior -- before by the Israeli government on such attacks, saying that the Palestinian Authority must be held directly responsible for the acts of those who are supposedly under its control. The Islamic Jihad, as I said, a militant movement, claimed responsibility for this attack. The death toll at the moment is five, according to hospital authorities. More than 70 people injured, at least 10 of them in a serious condition -- Colleen.

MCEDWARDS: All right, CNN's Mike Hanna.

Also, Mike, tell us whether you think your assessment of this in terms of how serious this is. This is certainly the worst type of violence we've seen in recent weeks, correct? There've been skirmishes, but nothing quite this bad since that nightclub explosion, correct? HANNA: Very much indeed, Colleen. This is the first bomb attack in an Israeli city since that explosion in Tel Aviv where a terror bomb killed more than 20 Israelis. In the wake of that, a cease-fire came into effect purportedly, it was a cease-fire, that never took real effect on the ground. People continued to die on both sides. However, this the first attack within an Israeli city itself that has led to the loss of life.

MCEDWARDS: all right.

HANNA: Five people killed at this particular stage, Colleen.

MCEDWARDS: CNN's Mike Hanna.

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