Skip to comments.Israel promises painful response to bus bombing: BOMBER WAS A PA POLICE OFFICER
Posted on 01/29/2004 10:23:15 AM PST by Cinnamon Girl
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz are to convene Thursday evening to discuss Israel's reaction to the deadly suicide attack on a Jerusalem bus Thursday morning.
The meeting is to take place following the national ceremony planned to take place at 9:00pm in Ben-Gurion Airport, were the bodies of Omer Sawayid, Benny Avraham and Adi Avitan are to arrive from Germany.
Ten people were murdered and 50 wounded when a suicide bomber exploded inside a bus on the corners of Gaza and Arlozorov streets, near the Prime Minister's residence in Jerusalem's Rehavia neighborhood at about 8:45 Thursday morning.
It was the 29th suicide bombing in the capital's history. Israel's response to Thursday's attack will be painful, Channel One reported officials as saying.
The names of five victims have been released: Dana Itah, 24; Chana Anya Bonder, 38; Baruch Matziashvilli, 38; Eli Tzfira, 47, all from Jerusalem, and Yehezkel Goldberg, 42, from Beitar-Ilit.
Eli Tzfira was buried in the capital's Shamgar cemetery at 5:30pm Thursday.
Twelve people are listed in very serious condition in three Jerusalem Hospitals. [See bottom of story for Hospital telephone numbers].
Thirty-one of the wounded are still in hospitals around Jerusalem. Two of them, ages 73 and 13, are in critical condition and are fighting for their lives. Deputy manager of Shaare Tzedek Medical Center, Ovadia Shemesh, said to Channel Two he believes that the two patients will pull through.
Assistant director general of Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital Prof. Shmuel Shapira said 10 wounded had arrived at the hospital. Five were seriously wounded, and five others moderately wounded. Most of those brought to the hospital were in their early twenties, Channel One reported.
Prof. Shapira said most of the wounded were suffering from lesions caused by metal shards and from the impact of the explosion. "They put into these bombs metal balls, nails and bolts," Shapira said.
Yasser Arafat's Fatah-linked al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack in a call to Army Radio.
The suicide bomber, identified as Ali Jaara, 24, a Palestinian Authority policeman from the Aida refugee camp on the outskirts of Bethlehem, left a note saying that he wanted to avenge eight Palestinians killed in fighting with Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip Wednesday.
IDF officers said on Army Radio that Thursday's suicide bombing takes more than one day to prepare, and reject the claim it was carried out as a response to Wednesday's operation in Gaza.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz convened the heads of the security establishment and other agencies to discuss the implications of the bombing, and Israel's response.
Mofaz was joined in the meeting by IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, Shin Bet Chief Avi Dichter and other security chiefs. The bomb weighed between 6KG to 7KG and was packed with metal shards. It was placed inside a bag carried by the suicide bomber.
Mofaz decided not to clamp a full closure on the territories following the attacks. The defense minister said targeted action would be taken against the terror groups.
The al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades said the suicide bomber left his Bethlehem home at 4 a.m. Thursday to make his way to Jerusalem. Jaara, who lived with his parents and nine siblings, was described by relatives as quiet and a devout Muslim who showed little interest in politics.
"I was expecting to marry him, not to bury him," Jaara's father said.
Many family members said they opposed militant attacks against Israelis. "These operations are not only not good for us, but really bad for us. They only hurt us," said his 26-year-old sister, Ola.
Palestinian Authority officials condemned the bombing.
According to police reports, the suicide bomber managed to explode at the back of the bus, ripping off its roof. The bus driver said he did not notice any suspicious-looking person enter the bus, Israel Radio reported. Police are investigating how the bomber got through, and who assisted him.
Jerusalem Police chief Mickey Levy said there were a large number of fatalities. "The bomb was very big, the entire back end of the bus was ripped apart," he said. Levy added that the police had no specific warning for the attack.
"Jerusalem Police have recently managed to stop several attacks, including the seizure of three explosive belts. All of these planned attacks are still being investigated," he said,. "We had no specific warning of Today's attack and we couldn't stop it."
"The explosive was a large one," Levy continued, and "we will investigate with the Egged bus company why there was no security person on the bus."
Half the roof of the bus was lifted 12 meters in the air and was visible hundreds of meters away from the back part of the bus. On the bus itself, every window had been blown out. There were three entire human corpses inside the bus and two others lying outside.
There was a moped that was hit by the explosion, but it was not clear whether the moped driver was amongst those murdered or injured.
Keren, 14, an eyewitness who was waiting for the bus, told Army Radio that the bus blew up meters before it arrived at the station. People began running towards the bus, she said, and then police arrived followed by ambulances. "I remained rooted to the spot, crying, until I was taken to hospital."
Police and security service said they receive between 50 and 60 general terror attack warnings per day.
Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah welcomed the bombing but did not accept responsibility.
Abdel Aziz Rantissi, a Hamas leader in Gaza, stopped short of claiming responsibility but said, "It's not important who carried out this operation. The only thing which is very important is that we are resisting occupiers who came ... to occupy our land and to kill our people," he said.
The explosion occurred moments after the bus pulled away from the bus stop on Arlozorov street. The bus starts its route in Hadassah Ein Kerem and makes its way to Hadassah Mount Scopus.
Following the explosion, disoriented people were seen milling around, some were seen at the scene walking around with pieces of human flesh on them. A great deal of blood was seen on the ground, and broken glass littered the streets.
There was a ghostly silence immediately after the attack; the silence one feels in Jerusalem on Shabbat.
Many of the people had managed to get off and make their way to the corner of Arlozorov and Gaza Streets. Some were sitting there in silence. Some of them had pieces of flesh on their jackets.
One person seems to have had his ear torn in half.
Another women was bleeding profusely, her face covered in blood.
Police chief Insp.-Gen. Shlomo Aharonishky said, "This takes us back to the difficult days of the past. There is no change in strategy on the other side. They are always trying to carry out attacks. The thin line of defense comprises the work of the security services, the IDF, Police and Shin Bet. Even despite this we cannot thwart every attack," Aharonishky said.
Aharonishky said the security fence being built around the West Bank would help security forces thwart attacks, but added that there was no foolproof way to stop terrorism. "Let me remind you that even the Great Wall of China had holes in it," he said.
Road blocks were set up by police at all major exits from Jerusalem causing traffic jams at the Gush Etzion Tunnel road.
Scores of Palestinians have been detained at the roadside, and large vehicles are being searched.
US ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer expressed his horror and shock at the murder of innocent Jews and reiterated his belief that "the Palestinians must take all steps to make this stop. To stop incitements and assistance to this murder of Jews and to take very specific action to uproot terrorism from their midst."
The Council of Europe condemned the deadly suicide bombing as a "mindless and indiscriminate act of violence."
Israel's former ambassador to the UN Dore Gold said, "Only the deployment of the Israeli army has prevented more attacks and only the final completion of the security fence will prevent more attacks in the future."
Cancelling a trilateral meeting between Israel, the Palestinian Administration and US envoys John Wolf and David Satterfield, the Israeli foreign ministry and Prime Minister's office issued a joint statement saying, "On this difficult day for Israel, in which innocent Israelis are murdered on the streets of its capital, there is no room for concessions to the Palestinian public."
Shalom said that the PA must do all it has pledged to do to fight terror; otherwise there will be no advance in the process.
Wolf and Satterfield have already met with the both sides, and were to host the trilateral meeting Thursday to re-ignite the stalled US road map.
PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, who Thursday agreed to meet PM Ariel Sharon without preconditions, condemned the suicide bombing in Jerusalem.
Daniel Taub a spokesman for the Israeli foreign office told the BBC, "this particular attack took place on a bus that runs between two hospitals and there is no depth to which these terrorists are not prepared to sink."
Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski said "a day that should have been a happy one started with many dead and injured. We are one family, made of hard stuff, but this kind of attack has implications for Jerusalem after several months of quiet."
"Terrorists will always find excuses to kill us," he continued. "There is no doubt that intentions exist. I'm glad the fence is going up. I only wish it was happening faster because we all know it protects us all."
The Palestinian Administration condemned the attack. Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat said they condemn any attack upon innocent civilians, Israeli or Palestinian.
This is the second explosion near the prime minister's residence, the first occurring on March 5, 2002 at the Moment Cafe. The Prime Minister was not at his Jerusalem residence at the time of the attack.
Diplomatic officials said the prisoner swap with the Hizbullah would continue despite the attack.
Emergency phone numbers for hospitals are: Hadassa Ein Karem 1255122 Hadassa Mt. Scopus 1255123 Sha'are Zedek 1255125
New immigrants can call 1255081010
Jerusalem Municipality hotline 1255023106
Special number for hearing impaired 02-6430255
Tovah Lazaroff and AP contributed to this article
Good! And their response to the State Department and U.N. bitching and whining to Israel about "the cycle of violence" and "the Palestinians need to take steps" ought to be "GO TO HELL!"
More and more I wonder if there is any point talking to the followers of a cult of death that believe that their g*d demands them to kill.
The only language these savages appear to understand is FORCE and HUMILIATION.
...as she kisses her house BUH BYE...
May your brother burn in hell.
I sure wouldn't mind reading that Arafat was a suicide bomber himself. Who managed to blow himself up while preparing, and took some other PA folks with him.
The Israelis should have hit the bus with a Hellfire as it was driving away. Fair is fair, sez I...
The very big dogs, indeed.
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