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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Israeli Warplanes Strike in Gaza City

Aired September 10, 2003 - 05:30   ET

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

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: We are following breaking news out of the Middle East this morning. Israeli war planes strike in Gaza City. Their target? A leader of Hamas.
To Jerrold Kessel now live in Jerusalem for more details -- hello, Jerrold.

JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Carol.

In the wake of twin suicide bombings in Israel, which killed 15 people, Israeli war planes were in action this morning and they bombed the home of Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar, one of the top Hamas officials in Gaza, leveling the two story structure and sending plumes of smoke up into the air. The Palestinians confirming that two people have been killed. Dr. Zahar escaped with only minor injuries. Among those killed, his own son and a bodyguard. Among 20 people wounded, at least five are reported to be in very serious condition.

The Israeli action coming in the wake of those suicide bombings, for which Hamas' military wing indicated it was responsible. And the Israelis have begun burying their dead from that -- from those suicide bombings. And one of the most poignant funerals have been held here in Jerusalem, a double funeral for a doctor and a leading, one of the city's leading physicians, and his daughter.

Dr. David Applebaum, an immigrant from the United States, was the director of the casualty ward of one of the city's leading hospitals and as such was one of the first often to treat other casualties from previous terror attacks. He and his 20-year-old daughter Nava were at that cafe which was bombed last night and it was the last night they were spending together to discuss her wedding, which was to have taken place this evening.

All and told, there were seven people killed in that suicide bombing at the Jerusalem cafe. That, in addition to the eight people, all of them soldiers, who were killed outside a major army base east of Tel Aviv in the first of yesterday's attacks inside Israel.

And in the wake of those twin attacks, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the Israeli leader, who had been on a landmark visit to India, the first by an Israeli prime minister, cutting short his visit to India. And he'll be returning this evening as Israel ponders how this affects its ongoing war against the Hamas leadership -- Carol.

COSTELLO: You know, I was just going to ask you that because the man who would be the new Palestinian prime minister says he's searching for a way to end the killing. But is there any way to end it at this point?

KESSEL: Well, yes, it was very interesting to hear Ahmed Qureia, the prime minister nominee in place of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian prime minister nominee, saying this morning that Israel's killing of more Palestinians, even of Hamas people, was not going to help the situation, what needed to be done was for the two sides to sit down and to talk their way back to a peaceful relationship. But he did condemn both attacks inside Israel yesterday.

But he's likely to get short shrift for that idea because there's still a major division between the Israelis and the United States on one hand, and the Palestinian leadership. The United States and Israel saying first the Palestinians must go after and curb the militants. The Palestinians say no, let's talk first, and that'll be the way to curb the militants. Until that can be resolved, it seems as if the violence is the thing that dominates -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Jerrold Kessel live from Jerusalem this morning.

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