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Number of Dead in Attacks on Israelis Still Unconfirmed

Aired November 28, 2002 - 09:21   ET


BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back once again. Busy day here at "American Morning." Let's recap right now, in case you're just joining us.
Three separate incidents to talk about, two in Kenya, one in Israel.

Let's back up just a little bit: 8 a.m. local time in the southeastern town of Mombasa, southeastern section of Kenya, when a chartered airliner carrying Israelis headed back to Tel Aviv, upon takeoff at the local airport, the pilot says he felt some sort of blow brush the plane.

Shortly after that, he described seeing two trails that appeared to him as if they were the trails of missiles leading away from the airline that disappeared seconds later.

That plane did take off with 261 people on board. It landed about half a dozen hours later in Tel Aviv safely and on the ground there.

But five minutes after the pilot spotted the trails of these missiles, at a local hotel where Israeli tourists were checking in at that time for a holiday in Eastern Africa, three suicide bombers, two in a truck described as a Range Rover or a Land Rover, rammed the front of this hotel.

The latest word we have, at least 13 dead, including three Israelis, two said to be young children, age 8.

In addition, the bombers are dead, all three. And eight Kenyans said to be dead as well, hotel workers who had come out to greet the tourists.

The information, as we understand it on the ground, is that two of the bombers were inside this truck loaded with explosives, hitting the front part of that hotel, and then a third suicide bomber on foot entered the hotel lobby.

Again, all of the facts still coming together right now as we track this story from Eastern Africa.

Then within the past hour, getting reports of a shooting at a bus station in northern Israel. There are casualties and dead there, as well. There's a number of wounded, but we do not have specific numbers just yet. We promise d Mike Hanna. Let's get to him now, live in Jerusalem, for more on what he is hearing, based on reports there in Jerusalem.

Mike, hello again.

MIKE HANNA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hello there, Bill.

Attacks against Israelis outside the country and inside, in northern Israeli, in the town of Beit Shean.

According to police, Palestinian gunmen opened fire on a crowd at a central bus station. There have been a number of Israelis killed. The latest figure that we have received is at least three Israelis killed in this attack.

Well over 20 Israelis are said to have been wounded. The hospital in the area there says that 13 of these people who have been admitted to hospital are in a serious condition.

Police sources on the ground told that us a number of these Palestinian gunmen were shot and killed. The initial report said that three Palestinian gunmen were shot and killed on the scene. A subsequent report put this number at two.

According to various reports, the gunmen were shot and killed by soldiers who were waiting nearby that bus station.

So a serious incident, a serious attack happening there in northern Israel, following on those attacks against Israeli interests in and above that city Kenyan port city of Mombasa.

HEMMER: OK, Mike, thank you. Mike Hanna again, tracking it on the ground in Jerusalem. Michael, we'll be back in touch again in a matter of moments.

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