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Explosion Goes Off in Restaurant Just North of Tel Aviv

Aired June 11, 2002 - 13:00   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.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We're continuing to follow breaking news out of Israel. An explosion has gone off in a restaurant just north of Tel Aviv. Fifteen casualties are being reported. We're going to go live now to our Jerrold Kessel. He's on the phone from Jerusalem.

Jerrold, what can you tell us?

JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There does seem to be according to reports on the scene that this was another case of a suicide bomber striking. Fifteen people have been taken to hospital. It's not clear if there were any other fatalities other than the attacker himself. But this happened just 20 minutes ago, so these reports are very sketchy.

It apparently occurred in a restaurant, or just outside of a restaurant. There are some reports that a man asked for a glass of water at the entrance to the restaurant in the town of Herzliya, one of the busy main streets of the town of Herzliya, which just lies some five or six miles north of Tel Aviv, on Israel's coastal plain, and as he had asked for that glass of water, suddenly the explosion.

The initial reports now is that they speak of 13 people hurt. All the casualties, according to the medical relief services, already being taken to a nearby hospital, as the search continues to see if there were any other explosions in the area, the customary after the after explosive theme that so many of these sites that have been struck by Palestinian suicide bombers, and the cleanup is already beginning and the investigation as to how the bomber might have got in there.

Israel is of course conducting ongoing preemptive raids, the Israelis saying, to towns in the Palestinian areas, and in the West Bank. Only today, they went into -- Israeli forces went into the town of Tulkarem, which is just about 10, 15 miles to the northeast of Herzliya, on the border between Israel and the West Bank. Israeli forces operating in there, as they had been indeed operating in many other towns, including the united town of Ramallah on the West Bank.

There, for the second straight day, there is a siege on Yasser Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah.

But this latest, what does appear to be a suicide bombing, again, north of Tel Aviv, in the town of Herzliya, has left at least 15 people hurt -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Jerrold, what can you tell us about Herzliya? What can of area is this? What type of...

KESSEL: Herzliya is very, very much a middle ground. You could say middle class, middle Israel, very much that. It is slightly plush, but very much middle class for Israeli, north of Tel Aviv. It's -- most people would either be working in Tel Aviv, in Tel Aviv. It's just off the coast. There is two parts to Herzliya. There is the seaside resort, and then this part where the main road is three or four miles off from the coast, off from the coastal towns (ph). A pleasant city.

This apparently place right in the middle the town, in the main shopping -- in the business district, were there are also a number of restaurants. Now many businesses on hot summer evening in Israel, and many of the restaurants have cafes, have sidewalks, and what's not yet clear is the bomber managed to get into the restaurant or just outside when the explosion took place.

Because of the space of attack, most Israeli restaurants and other public places have guards on their doors, guards on their gate, That could well be, as I say, the initial reports talking of a man asking for a glass of water. That he was accosted by the security at this restaurant, but that remains to be ascertained in the military here (ph), because as I said, just (UNINTELLIGIBLE). This blast took place, and initial reports (UNINTELLIGIBLE) speaking of 15 people (UNINTELLIGIBLE). (UNINTELLIGIBLE) appears to be another suicide bombing.

PHILLIPS: All right, our Jerrold Kessel on the phone for us from Jerusalem. Continue to follow this breaking news story of the explosion that has just gone off in a restaurant just north of Tel Aviv.

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