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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Suicide Bombing in Shopping Center

Aired May 19, 2003 - 10:45   ET

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

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: With more on this latest attack in Afula at the shopping center, let's bring in our Jerrold Kessel who's standing by. I believe you're in Jerusalem -- Jerrold.
JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, with crews on the way Afula, it's about two hours drive north of here, very close to the Israeli border with the West Bank, and what we understand is that four people have been killed in the latest suicide bombing, inside a shopping mall, and more than satisfy 15 people wound, and from the first report, because we haven't been able to confirm this by the police, first reports Israeli media reports is the suicide bomber this time a woman, a woman suicide bomber.

And this is the fifth attack in -- within two days, in less than do two days, the previous four suicide bombings, claimed responsibility, for which was claimed by the military Islamic group Hamas.

This morning down in Gaza, a man aboard a bicycle, rather than the customary scene of a suicide bomber walking up or coming in by car, came with his bicycle near a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip, and there outside a settlement near an Israeli military patrol, blew up, he was killed, three Israeli soldiers likely hurt.

But in this latest incident inside the shopping mall, in the town of Afula, in Galilee, four people at this early stage reported to have been killed, 15 wounded, and the bomber reportedly a woman.

Back to you, Daryn.

KAGAN: Jerrold, what can you tell bus Afula? This isn't a city that we usually hear of when he hear about these kind of attacks.

KESSEL: Afula is a real middle-class Israeli town. It's in the middle of a very big farming community, serves as the base for that farming community, the rural community around it. It's grown to a size of, I guess, about 20,000, 25,000 people in a very beautiful area of Galilee, in the Jezreal (ph) Valley. It has been the subject of attack several times in recent years, because probably their proximity to the West Bank. A large Palestinian town on the West Bank of Jenin is just about, oh, I'd say no more than eight miles as the crow flies from Afula, across the West Bank, Israel border.

It's not quite a porous border, but it isn't yet where a fence is in existence. The Israelis have been building a fence in that area to try and keep bombers out, because along many of the trunk roads in that area, there have been bus bombings. But this one of the rare times when the bombers have got actually into the town of Afula.

KAGAN: All right, Jerrold, we're going to let you go and gather some more facts. We're going to continue to track the story, and we're going to check back with you in just a few moments.

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