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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Explosion in West Jerusalem

Aired January 27, 2002 - 07:00   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.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. Welcome to CNN SUNDAY MORNING. I'm Miles O'Brien at the CNN Center in Atlanta. We begin this hour with breaking news in the Middle East. A powerful explosion has rocked a central part of west Jerusalem. Police are calling it a suicide bombing and they say at least 40 people are injured. Let's go right now to CNN's Jerrold Kessel in Jerusalem.

Jerrold, what's the latest?

JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Miles, it's a familiar scene on Israeli streets, all too familiar a scene for Israelis. A suicide bomber blows himself up in the middle of the road this time and this time, wounding some hundred people who have gone to hospitals for treatment. Many of them only for shock and minor injuries, but two are reported in very serious condition and another 10 in relatively serious condition from Jerusalem hospitals around the city. This is the place, the familiar mayhem that has occurred when Palestinian effectively have come into Israeli cities here in this part of downtown west Jerusalem.

The Israeli part of Jerusalem indeed where a suicide bomber, next to a parterre (ph) , blew himself up down in the late summer, killed 15 people. Last Tuesday, in this same area, Palestinian government shooting randomly in a crowd - into a crowd at a bus stop, killed two elderly women, wounded more than 20. In Tel Aviv, on Friday, a man blew himself up and wounded some - 20, 25 Israelis there. And the familiar scene of the rescue services rushing to the scene, on the scene within minutes. Police there. Explosives experts examining whether perhaps more bombs have been left on the scene or whether there might have been an accomplice. If there was indeed in that attack on Tel Aviv, police are saying.

On Friday morning, another Palestinian was later captured. He had been meant to shoot into the crowd of rescuers and police who came after the initial explosion went off. But this time, no such aftermath. The Israelis - the hospitals here reporting that some 90 to 95 people have been treated and two in serious condition. The bomber himself dead.

Now, this in a part of an ongoing patent of tick-for-tack tactical exchanges you might say of Israelis and Palestinians attacking each other. But there is now a sense that this conflict is moving onto the plane of a decisive strategic battle, especially as it comes at a time when there's been an important political shift in the United States - Miles.

O'BRIEN: Jerrold, for many of our viewers, looking at that scene, it might seem tragically familiar. That particular location, unfortunately, has been a spot that many of the suicide bombers have targeted. Why?

KESSEL: Well, it is downtown Jerusalem, right at that busy intersection, the Jaffa and - Jaffa Road and King George Street, about possibly the busiest intersection in downtown west Jerusalem. Many stores, many people crowding there. This is a Sunday morning, the beginning of Israelis working week. But I'm bound to say it was very interesting. I've just come back from the scene itself and it's almost as if people are taking it - it's a strange thing to say and it's almost a terribly sad thing to say, but people almost taking it in their stride, very, very anxious and very concerned. But it is almost becoming too much of a normality in Israelis' life, these ongoing suicide attacks in their cities and it's almost, as many Israelis are saying, something's got to give.

O'BRIEN: All right, CNN's Jerrold Kessel in Jerusalem, thank you very much.

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