Tuesday, August 19, 2003

The "hudna" seems to have conclusively fallen apart today: Several Children Among the Dead in Bus Bombing in Jerusalem.

A suicide bomber blew himself up on a bus packed with ultra-Orthodox Jews on Tuesday, killing 20 people, including at least three children, and wounding about 100 in one of the deadliest bombings in the past three years of fighting....

The militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad both claimed responsibility. Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas condemned the bombing as a "terrible act."....

The blast went off shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday, as the crowded tandem bus -- which has two passenger sections -- drove along a main thoroughfare in Jerusalem and another bus pulled in front of it, witnesses said....

Several children also were among the wounded in Jerusalem.

"It was the No. 2 bus that came from the Western Wall," said a motorist, Jacob Bitnovsky. "I heard a huge blast and when I turned around I saw parts of the bus flying everywhere. I got out of the car and ran. There was a lot of smoke and running, saw a child on the ground gasping for air."

The bus had started out at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest shrine, and was headed to an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood.

One report said among the passengers were members of a family who had celebrated a Bar Mitzvah, the Jewish rite of passage into adulthood for boys, at the Western Wall.

A second bus passing nearby when the explosion went off was also badly damaged, with windows blown out. Rescuers had to use blow torches to get out some of the wounded.

"What is clear is that it was a very big bomb," said Jerusalem fire chief Amnon Amir.

Shocked survivors, including several crying children with blood-smeared faces, were led away from the scene. A paramedic cradled a little girl in his arms, and two others led away an elderly woman.

So much for the claim that Hamas or Islamic Jihad (both of which claimed responsibility for the bombing) are only interested in establishing a Palestinian state in pre-1967 West Bank and Gaza Strip. And so much for the claim that they only fight against the "Zionists" -- most of the dead were probably ultra-Orthodox Jews, many of whom are opposed to political Zionism.

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