19 ISRAELIS MURDERED IN JERUSALEM TERROR BUS ATTACK
Jerusalem Hotline Hospital emergency numbers:
Bikur Holim Hospital: 125-5123
Hadassah University-Hospital, Ein Kerem: 125-5122
Hadassah University-Hospital, Mt Scopus: 125-5121
Sha'are Zedek: 125-5125
Jerusalem Municipality: 106 (02-531-4600)
No area code is necessary when calling these numbers. Overseas callers need to dial Israel's country code 972
18.....Public bus number 32 had just left Jerusalem's residential Gilo
neighborhood when an Arab suicide bomber detonated a suitcase of explosives,
killing 19 people. The bus, which was headed for downtown Jerusalem, was
packed with schoolchildren and office workers during the morning rush
hour. Over 50 terror victims were taken to hospital.
Upon hearing the tragic news, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon canceled an appearance at the World Zionist Congress and headed for the scene where the barbaric attack took place. Sharon questioned the type of Palestinian State suggested to be formed as he spoke against the backdrop of a long line of blood dripping black body bags. The Prime Minister vowed to fight Palestinian terror as he surveyed the carnage caused by the attack.
The blast lifted
bus number 32 in south Jerusalem off the ground and reduced it to charred
"Bodies were piled up near the door of the bus on the right side," said Shalom Sabag, who was driving his car in front of the bus and rushed to help pull out dead and wounded.
"I took off the bodies of two girls and a man. There was one girl I cannot forget. She had a long braid down her back and she lay on her stomach," he said. "There was a man with his hand wounded but every time we touched him he screamed."
A medic said many of the wounded were children and teenagers. "I am certain there were pupils on the bus. I saw the bus fly into the air. I am very worried," Ruthy Almaliach, a teacher at a nearby school, told Israel Radio.
Bodies could be seen lying in the mangled skeleton of the bus and on the ground as smoke billowed through the area. Ambulances rushed the wounded to local hospitals as police sappers checked for more bombs. Dan Vered, a witness interviewed while waiting at Hadassah-University Hospital, Ein Kerem said non-critical cases were being cleared out of the facilities' pediatric wing in order to receive the stream of wounded.
Many of the wounded are aged 10-to-12, Army Radio said.
Police had been on heightened alert because of intelligence reports they said pointed to a suicide bomber in the area.
"This terrible thing that we are seeing is the continuation of the Palestinian terror and we must fight and struggle against this terror and this is what we will do," Sharon told reporters in what Israeli media said was his first visit to the scene of a bombing.
Hamas has claimed responsibility for the attack
"The Jerusalem attack indicates that the Palestinian Authority continues to export terror into Israel," David Baker, an official in Sharon's office, told Reuters. "Terror flows from the PA like an open faucet."
Jerusalem Police commander Levy warned that police are on the alert for other bombers believed to have infiltrated Jerusalem.
Jerusalem police have been on high alert for a bombing since Monday, amid a general alert in the country for several suicide bombers believed to have infiltrated from the West Bank since the weekend.
Police have set up checkpoints throughout the city.
Yasser Arafat continues
to speak in two languages - speaking "peace" in English to
CNN and "Jihad" in Arabic on the Voice of Palestine.
"It appears that most of the people on the bus were colonists from
the colony of Gilo which was built on land taken from our people in
Bethlehem," asserted Nizar Al-Ghul, the head anchorman of Yasser
Arafat's Voice of Palestine state-run radio, summing up the attack.
"An explosion occurred on a bus coming from the settlement of Gilo, and the information we have from Israeli sources is that there are at least ten or eleven dead on the bus," reported Muhammad Abd-Rabbo, the Jerusalem correspondent of VOP.
Interestingly, the Israeli media did not start broadcasting death figures for at least another fifteen minutes!
groups has yet taken credit for this redemptive sacrificial operation,"
asserted Walid Al-Omary, the West Bank correspondent for Al-Jazeera
Arab satellite television. He
used the term "redemptive sacrificial operation" (Arabic:
amaliyya fida'iyya) to describe the bus attack. Al-Jazeera and the other
Arab satellite networks habitually use that term to describe attacks
CNN's Ted Turner described Israelis as "terrorists", comparing Israelis to the Islamic barbarians who slaughter innocent civilians who ride on public buses. Recently Turner described the terrorists who destroyed New York's World Trade Center and attacked Washington's Pentagon as being "brave" individuals. Turner later apologized stating that he had used the "wrong words". CNN has since distanced themselves from Turner's comments stating the Turner spoke for himself and that the former chairman's views do not reflect the editorial judgement of CNN.
This latest terror attack took place as President Bush was preparing to lay out a framework on how to create an independent Palestinian state with a constitution and a unified security force.
At least 525 Israelis have been killed since Palestinian violence began in September 2000 after Palestinians walked away from peace talks in Washington.