Newsletter : 7fax0905.txt
| Previous file
| Next file
>JN Sept. 5, 1997, Vol. 5. No. 163
Dead and Wounded Cover Jerusalem's Ben Yehuda Mall
By VOA's Al Pessin (Jerusalem), David Gollust (Martha's Vineyard),
Douglas Roberts (Cairo)
Three bombs exploded in a crowded shopping area in central
Jerusalem Thursday, just one week before Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright is due to visit to try to re-start the
Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The militant Palestinian group
Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack in a message faxed to
foreign news agencies, and said attacks will continue until all
Hamas prisoners are released.
Three explosions echoed through downtown, followed by the wail of
sirens and the screams of victims and witnesses. It once
again turned Jerusalem's downtown into a shattered zone of death
and injury, tears and fear -- exactly what terrorists aim to do.
Suddenly there were explosions and glass everywhere in Jerusalem's
central pedestrian promenade -- it was crowded with local
residents and tourists out for a stroll or a coffee on a lovely
late summer afternoon.
Moments later, victims, body parts, blood, and broken glass were
strewn on the cobblestones. Chairs and tables were overturned,
cafe umbrellas were broken and twisted. A foreign student from
Canada, 16-year-old Elazar Gabay, was there when the bombs went
"The first bomb exploded, so I got very scared, I ran a little
further, the second one exploded, so I ran a little further and the
third one exploded. There is nothing really to see besides glass,
blood and people. In the Atara cafe I saw people on the floor."
Three young men who identified themselves only as Michael, Yaron
and Aaron were playing cards in a cafe near the explosions. "We saw
many people bleeding, dismembered body parts on the street, blood
flowing, everything. Disgusting. The streets were covered with
glass, and blood, and blood, and bones. It was slick, tough to
One of his friends, Aaron, remembered the moment the first bomb
went off. "We did feel the shock ourselves, it shook our tables.
Our table moved. There was a dead person lying inside the Burger
King, on the floor, somebody whose body had been dissected by a
Police sealed off the attack site, fearing initially more bombs
could go off, and also to allow emergency workers to do their jobs.
They rolled stretcher after stretcher bearing bloodied victims onto
waiting ambulances and sped away.
On the fringes of the scene, women cried and people walked around
as if in a daze, unable to believe they had been so close to such
Israel immediately re-imposed the closure on the Palestinian areas,
which had been imposed after the market bombing and had just been
eased slightly Tuesday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited injured in a local
hospital and then convened his security cabinet. His senior
spokesman, David Bar Illan, told Israel Radio the bombings prove
Israel's point -- that the only subject to be discussed with the
Palestinian Authority at this time is a crackdown on terrorist
"Unless Arafat really cracks down on the infrastructure of
terrorism, by that I mean on the organizations themselves, unless
that is done I don't see how the peace process can proceed. He can
not be a peace partner on the one hand and an encourager of
terrorism and an inciter for terrorism on the other."
Netanyahu said the peace process will not continue unless the
Palestinian Authority carries out a major crackdown on militant
groups. And he said Israel will do so itself if it has to.
President Clinton, vacationing in Massachusetts, condemned the
bombings -- and announced Albright's planned trip to the Middle
East next week will go forward. Clinton said the multiple bomb
attack was aimed at killing both innocent people and the Middle
East peace process itself.
Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak condemned the bombing and said it
will only reinforce his determination to push forward with the
peace process. The Egyptian president telephoned Yasir Arafat to
discuss the bombing and its possible impact on the peace process.
Arafat also said Israeli-imposed closures of his territories will
not solve the terrorism problem. Other Palestinian officials
condemned the bombing, but said only progress in the peace process
will bring true security.
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)