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Kessel: Militants claim bombing doesn't violate cease-fire

CNN's Jerrold Kessel
CNN's Jerrold Kessel

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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Bodies, bloodied survivors and twisted metal filled a Jerusalem street after a suicide bomber blew himself up Tuesday night on a two-car bus filled with mostly Jewish families coming home from prayers at the Western Wall.

The blast also may have also damaged the U.S.-backed "road map" for peace in the region.

CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer talked with CNN correspondent Jerrold Kessel about the effects of the blast.

KESSEL: Horrifying, a mild word perhaps Wolf. Grim scenes as you can see behind me as the cleanup work in the bus continues. All the bodies have been taken away, all the wounded long taken away.

At least 18 confirmed dead, possibly as high as 20 killed by the suicide bomber who came from Hebron on the West Bank, 100 people wounded many of them children.

At least one small child among the dead, some of the children fighting for their lives among the 16 people who were reported to be seriously hurt in this attack shattering the relative calm of the last seven weeks.

Palestinian militant groups who were meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas as the bombing took place saying they stayed true to the cease-fire and this was, claiming responsibility the Islamic Jihad and Hamas, was a response, a revenge attack for Israel's initiated attack they say in Hebron on Thursday in which a Islamic Jihad leader was killed.

The Israelis have suspended their talks with the Palestinians about ongoing measures to try to get the peace process, the roadmap for peace going, all those talks off, and the Israelis say they will not hand over now, for now at least, further control of towns in the West Bank to the Palestinians. Further work of cleanup continues here, very grim mood indeed.

BLITZER: Jerrold, Islamic Jihad apparently has claimed responsibility for this attack. Are they saying in their statement why they did this? I thought there was supposed to be a so-called cease-fire until the end of September.

KESSEL: ... Wolf, both the Islamic radical group Islamic Jihad and Hamas claiming responsibility. Both say that they remain true to the cease-fire which they proclaimed seven weeks ago but this was a response to the Israeli action, the Israeli-initiated killings of their people.

They say, however, they'll keep to the cease-fire. They will not let Israeli killings of their people go unanswered and this is what it was -- but it was certainly a very savage answer.


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