CNN BREAKING NEWS
Terror Attack in Israel
Aired March 5, 2003 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: We begin with the terror attack in Israel. We can confirm this morning, 11 people have been killed by a suicide bombing aboard a bus in the northern port city of Haifa. Forty people were wounded, about 10 of them seriously. The bus was just pulling away from a bus station when witnesses say it was lifted into the air and torn apart by a powerful explosion. The explosion also caused some bad damage to buildings in the surrounding area. It happened just a short time ago.
Let's turn to our Jerusalem bureau chief, Mike Hanna, for the very latest.
Good morning, Mike.
MIKE HANNA, CNN JERUSALEM BUREAU CHIEF: Hello, Paula.
Well, the explosion, one of devastating force, according to eyewitnesses. The bus on which the explosion occurred shattered, a number of buildings in the vicinity also very badly damaged, and the human cost, immense. At least 11 people killed in the explosion, according to medical authorities, 40 people at least are wounded, and at least 10 of these are said to be in a serious condition receiving treatment in hospital.
Police say the explosion occurred as the bus was pulling away from a bus stop. It was traveling along the Maria (ph) Boulevard, this a major arterial road through the primarily residential area of Caramel. The road leading down the hill into the port city of Haifa itself, the road lined with a number of restaurants, a number of cultural centers in that particular area as well. And the damage, as I said, to the surrounds was immense in the blast.
Police confirming that it was, in fact, a suicide bomb attack. What is not clear at this moment is whether among the figure of 11 dead that we have been given that includes the person who detonated that explosive device.
No claims of responsibility yet from any of the militant organizations that have claimed responsibility for such terror attacks in the past. From the Israeli government, once again, condemnation of the Palestinian Authority, who it says are responsible ultimately for such attacks. From the Palestinian Authority, condemnation of this attack, as it says it condemns all attacks on civilians, be they Palestinian or Israeli.
A routine series of accusation and denial. But, unfortunately, what in recent months has not been a routine terror attack, this the first attack in two months within Israel itself. The last terror attack in an Israeli City was at the beginning of January, where more than 20 people were killed in an explosion carried out by two suicide bombers. This lull in Israel, not matched by a lull in Palestinian territories, Israeli forces have been conducting ongoing operations in both Gaza and in the West Bank. As many as 70 Palestinian killed in February alone. But this lull within Israel broken by this terror attack, and police saying that they had foiled at least 50 such attempts of attack within the past couple of months -- Paula.
ZAHN: I know you say that no group is claiming responsibility at this hour, but often these suicide bombings follow actions by the Israeli government. Just describe to us what the Palestinian reaction has been to what you describe as these ongoing actions in West Bank and Gaza.
HANNA: Well, once again, this is a thing that we have seen in many, many months in more than 2 1/2 years of ongoing conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. The cycle of violence that appears to be unbroken, massive Israeli military action in Palestinian areas, followed at some stage by Palestinian attack against Israeli civilians within Israel itself.
In recent weeks, in Gaza in particular, massive Israeli military operations. Israel says these operations are necessary to prevent such terror attacks against its civilians. Palestinians contend that these operations serve only to fuel the fire and encourage such attacks against Israeli civilians. This is a familiar argument that's been an ongoing argument and argument that we are hearing in the wake of another terror attack in Israel, more people dead.
ZAHN: Mike Hanna, our bureau chief in Jerusalem. We will be checking in with you throughout the morning for updates. Thanks.
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