10.....Two people were murdered and 30 wounded when an Arab suicide
bomber, blew himself up on the sidewalk at the Bar-Ilan junction
on the Geha Highway near Tel Aviv this morning.
71, a housekeeper from Petah Tikva, was killed in the attack,
the second suicide bombing on a Dan bus in the Tel Aviv area within
a month. It occurred shortly before 8 a.m. at a bus stop crowded
with rush hour commuters just outside Bar-Ilan University.
has vowed to avenge the deaths of 14 Palestinians in an IDF raid
on Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip on Monday, claimed responsibility
for the attack.
The bomber was identified as Rafik Hamad, 31, a father of four
from the village of Habla, south of Kalkilya.
The driver of a No. 87 Dan bus, Baruch Neuman, and a passenger
averted "a major disaster" and "saved the lives
of many people this morning," according to Tel Aviv police
chief Cmdr. Yossi Sedbon.
a man trying to sneak onto the bus through the back door. The
bus was packed with soldiers and civilians heading for work at
Sheba Hospital at Tel Hashomer. He quickly closed the doors and
started to drive. Passengers yelled out that a man had fallen
and been injured. Neuman and a woman who said she was a medic
rushed out of the bus to find the man on the ground with a head
that the man had a light head wound and was bleeding, apparently
caused by the fall," Neuman said. "We opened his shirt
and saw an explosives belt strapped onto his body. I was in shock."
The woman spotted the bomb belt, made of white cotton, with wires
going down to the legs. He and a fellow passenger, a cardiologist
restrained the man.
man who was with me shouted that we should each grab one of the
bomber's hands and not let him move, so he couldn't blow himself
up," said Neuman.
Witnesses said Neuman shouted, "It's a terrorist, it's a
terrorist, everybody get out of here."
to four tense minutes, the dazed terrorist "started twitching,
and opened his eyes," said Neuman. The two Israelis feared
the bomber would break loose, so they decided to release the man
and run. As the bus' passengers and bystanders on the street fled,
the two men who had pinned the bomber by the arms and Neuman began
to speak to the bomber, asking him about his motives and assuring
him he would not be hurt if he stopped resisting. The bomber,
apparently in shock, did not respond.
the terrorist then rose, and began "sort of running directly
towards me, like a robot straight towards me," said Eli Dan,
38, recovering from a shrapnel wound at Sheba Hospital.
people had enough time to flee, a combination of confusion and
curiosity kept some from escaping the blast.
dazed, and everything seemed to happen in slow motion," Dan
said. "Suddenly, everything was black. I was flung back a
few meters as he blew up in the most incredible boom I have ever
heard. But I guess I was lucky."
said they heard Hamad yell something in Arabic.
Six of the
victims remained hospitalized Thursday night, one in moderate
condition. The rest suffered moderate shrapnel wounds.
Many of the
wounded suffered from shock and were released after a few hours
from Sheba Hospital and the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus
in Petah Tikva.
The approximately five-kilogram bomb was packed with bolts and
ball bearings. It was powerful enough to sever the attacker's
head and send it 30 meters away.
Aharon, who was on her way to work as a housekeeper, was mortally
wounded in the blast and pronounced dead upon arrival at the Rabin
Yemenite descent, was a devoted grandmother of 15, according to
friends and family. They described her as "noble," saying
she was always smiling and graced with an aristocratic manner.
She was buried in Rosh Ha'ayin Thursday evening.
the attack, Palestinian Authority officials and Israeli leaders
criticized each other. Former PA cabinet minister Saeb Erekat
condemned the killing of civilians, "whether Palestinians
or Israelis," but added, "We hold Prime Minister [Ariel]
Sharon responsible for the current escalation."
an official in the Prime Minister's Office, said, "Palestinian
terrorists have declared open season on Israelis." He said
Israel holds PA Chairman Yasser Arafat responsible, saying he
does nothing to prevent terrorist attacks.
the State Department condemned the attack.
condemn in the strongest possible terms the terrorist bombing
earlier today in northern Israel that killed one Israeli civilian,"
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said. "As we've
said before, terror and violence have no place in this region,
and undermine Palestinian national aspirations.
called again on Palestinian leaders to take this opportunity to
condemn terror and violence and to take steps against all acts
of violence," he added.
the Palestinian terrorist attack, the IDF was engaged in fighting
in Gaza during an army operation to seek and destroy tunnels used
to smuggle arms into Gaza from Egypt. The IDF successfully discovered
and sealed two weapon's tunnels. No IDF personnel were injured
in the firefight.