Bus bombing in Jerusalem kills at least 20 people; Islamic Jihad, Hamas claim attack
At least 20 people were killed and some 80 were wounded in a suicide bombing attack Tuesday night on a bus in downtown Jerusalem. Of the wounded, 13 were reported in serious condition. According to reports, another bus nearby was also hit by the blast.
The explosives charge was particularly large, said Jerusalem police chief Mickey Levy, and was apparently set off in the middle of the two-stage bus.
Most of the people on the bus were ultra-Orthodox Jews, reports said. Police were checking the possibility that the bomber was disguised as a Jew.
The military wing of the Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack. It named the bomber as Abd al Hamid Misk, an activist from Hebron. The group had previously vowed avenge the August 14 killing of senior activist Mohammed Sidr.
Later, Hamas also said that it was behind the attack. A videotape released by Hamas in Hebron showed a man who said he would carry out the suicide bombing to avenge Israel's killing of one of the group's members.
Danny Seaman, Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister's Office, said, "Every time Israel has made a gesture of peace to the Palestinians over the past ten years the response has been the murder of our men, women and children. This has to stop. It must be realized that this is not an Arab-Israeli issue but rather an international campaign of terror which is ongoing from New York and Baghdad to Moscow and Jerusalem."
The United States condemned the attack, and urged the Palestinian government to dismantle the "terrorist" organizations.
"We condemn this act of terrorism in the strongest possible terms," White House spokesman Sean McCormack said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and the victims."
The Palestinian government has strongly condemned the attack. "We strongly condemn the attack and we are completely against putting the lives of civilians into danger," said Palestinian Minister of Information Nabil Amr.
The explosion went off as Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas was meeting with Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip to persuade them to halt attacks on Israelis. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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