the World Debates the Fence, Israel buries its Dead
(IFM) A suicide
bomber detonated the explosives he was wearing on a crowded city
bus in Jerusalem early Sunday morning near the capital’s Liberty
Bell Park. Eight people were killed and more than 60 were wounded–including
several children–when the bomber struck.
personnel carry a wounded man away from the scene of a suicide
bombing attack in a Jerusalem bus. A suicide bomber blew
himself up on the crowded Jerusalem bus, killing 8 people
and wounding more than 60. The killer reportedly lived in
the biblical city of Jerusalem.
Photo by Lefteris Pitarakis / AP
The 23-year-old terrorist was from Yasser Arafat’s Fatah Al Aqsa
Martyrs Brigades and apparently lived in central Jerusalem. Despite
the fact that two security guards swept the bus’ interior for
any possible threats, they did not suspect the terrorist Muhammed
Za’ul from Bethlehem.
Four of the
victims have been identified as:
18, a student at the Gymnasia Rehavia high school;
Benayahu Yehonatan Zuckerman, 18, a student at the Experimental
School in Jerusalem;
Yuval Ozana, 32, of Jerusalem; and
St.-Sgt. Netanel Havshush, 20, of Jerusalem.
Government sources in Jerusalem said Sunday that Israel would
not launch a harsh military response to the suicide bombing on
a bus in the capital during the morning rush hour, which killed
eight people and wounded 66 others.
The remarks followed a meeting between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz held after the weekly cabinet
also went on heightened alert Sunday, due to terror warnings and
the debate on the separation fence at The Hague, which is due
to begin Monday.
said that there will be no choice but to operate in Bethlehem
in the near future, as there has been a significant rise in terrorist
activities in the city over the past few months.
bomber who blew himself up on a Jerusalem bus at the end of January
and killed 11 people was also dispatched from Bethlehem.
Mofaz met for two hours, during which they were updated on the
details of the suicide attack and discussed possible Israeli responses.
Mofaz was also to convene a meeting of security officials later
in the day, for a further assessment of how to respond to the
Ariel Sharon, addressing a tourism conference Sunday evening,
said, "Today in Jerusalem, we received a painful reminder
of the cruelty of Palestinian terrorism." He did not indicate
what Israel’s response would be.
The IDF on
Sunday reinstated its siege on Bethlehem and arrested several
members of the suicide bomber’s family in the village of Hussan,
which is in the area.
Martyrs Brigade on Sunday claimed responsibility for the attack
on Egged bus No. 14. The dead included six men and two women.
Five of the
eight victims have been identified: Lior Azulai, 18, who studied
at the Gymnasia Rehavia high school in the capital; Nathaniel
Havshush, 20, a Staff Sergeant in the Israel Defense Forces; Bnayahu
Jonathan Zuckerman, 18, who studied at the Experimental School
of Jerusalem; Yehuda Haim, a 48-year-old store owner from Givat
Ze’ev; and Yuval Ozana, a 31-year-old resident of the capital.
the attack, IDF troops placed the entire region around West Bank
city of Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem, under closure and sealed
off the village of Hussan, where the suicide bomber lived.
family began removing furniture and belongings from the house,
fearing an IDF demolition.
released by the militant group, associated with Palestinian Authority
Chairman Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement, named the bomber as Mohammed
Za’el, 23, from the village of Hussan near the West Bank city
of Bethlehem, and made a reference to the separation fence being
built by Israel.
married and a father to a child. His wife is reportedly pregnant.
called the barrier "a Nazi wall which will not stop us attacking."
The statement also claimed the attack was in retaliation for the
killing of 15 Palestinians during an IDF operation in the Gaza
Strip on February 11.
Prior to the
official claim of responsibility, Hezbollah’s television station,
Al-Manar, reported that the suicide bombing had been executed
on behalf of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and named the bomber.
came the day before the start of the International Court of Justice
hearings on the West Bank separation fence, which Israel says
is crucial for keeping out bombers.
took place at around 8:30 A.M. in the neighborhood of Rehavia,
close to Liberty Bell Park. The bus, travelling to the Beit Hakerem
neighborhood, is usually very crowded at that time of day.
to Israel Radio, a Ministry of Transportation security guard scoured
the bus and disembarked three stops before the place of the explosion.
All the wounded
were evacuated from the scene of the blast to Hadassah University
Hospital, Ein Karem, Hadassah University Hospital, Mt Scopus,
Bikur Holim and Shaare Zedek Medical Center in the capital.
One of the
wounded was in critical condition at Hadassah University Hospital,
Ein Karem, while six others were seriously wounded.
they were investigating small traces of a chemical that was out
of the ordinary, but believed it may have come from a can of spray
carried by a passenger.
suicide bomber last struck in Jerusalem on January 29, killing
11 people on a bus.
Haaretz and IFM