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CNN SUNDAY MORNING
Suicide Bombing in Jerusalem Leaves at Least 7 Dead
Aired February 22, 2004 - 08:01 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: We begin this hour in Jerusalem, where a suicide bombing aboard a crowded commuter bus has left at least seven passengers dead. Israeli police report more than 50 others wounded in the blast.
Our Ben Wedeman is following the developments in Jerusalem.
Ben, can you tell us, what is the very latest now?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CAIRO BUREAU CHIEF: Well, the latest is that the scene actually has been cleared up. Traffic in that area on a very busy street is normal. But just a few hours ago, it was anything but that.
At 8:30 in the morning local time at the height of rush hour, Sunday, of course, is the beginning of the work week in Israel. A suicide bomber blew himself up on the number 14 bus, a very crowded bus, bringing commuters into the heart of Jerusalem. He killed at least seven people, wounded more than 50. Several of those people still in serious condition.
Now, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade -- that is an armed offshoot of Yasser Arafat's Fatah moved -- has claimed responsibility for the bombing. They say the suicide bomber was one 23-year-old Mohammed Zal (ph) from the village of Hosan, which is near Bethlehem, which is just south of Jerusalem. In fact, just on the road where that blast took place.
According to the Israeli army, they have clamped down a complete closure on the area of Bethlehem and on the village Hosan, where the suicide bomber comes from. It has been declared a closed military area.
Now, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei was quick to condemn the bombing. He said that, "We refuse all such acts that harm higher Palestinian interests," and he called for an immediate halt to such bombings. But Israeli officials are brushing aside such statements from Palestinian officials, saying that they don't give them much importance, that the Palestinians should be pursuing their higher moral interest in stopping this kind of attack.
Now, the attack comes just one day, Heidi, before the International Court of Justice in The Hague will be hearing -- holding hearings on the legality of the Israeli security barrier, a very controversial barrier. Israel today began tearing down a five-mile stretch of that barrier that runs through a Palestinian town, and it cut off about 7,000 people access to the rest of the West Bank -- Heidi.
SAVIDGE: Ben Wedeman live from Jerusalem this morning.
Ben, thanks so much for the update on that.
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