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Suicide Bombers Kill At Least 8, Injure Over 170 in Jerusalem

Aired December 1, 2001 - 20:15   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Let's update you on our breaking news here at CNN.

Terrorism hits central Jerusalem once again. Three bombings, explosions, two of them suicide bombers, a third a car or a suicide bomber; latest numbers we have for you, eight people have been killed, not including the two suicide bombers. More than 170 people have been injured.

It happened just before midnight on a crowded pedestrian mall. It was crowded with young people who were celebrating the end of the Sabbath. It was so powerful, one of the explosions was so powerful it shattered windows a block away in cars.

We have heard from the president. Our Kelly Wallace is reporting from Camp David, near Camp David where he is. Let's check in with her. Of course, the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is in the United States, and there's talks that a meeting may be moved up now -- Kelly.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That is exactly right, Donna. We have just confirmed, a senior administration official telling CNN that meeting has been moved up by a day, that President Bush will meet tomorrow, Sunday, at noon at the White House with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

As you said, Donna, the two men were to meet on Monday. The Prime Minister was also to stay in Washington another day on Tuesday and meet with lawmakers, but obviously the events in the region changing that schedule, this meeting, again, to take place at the White House at noon.

Also, Donna, we have learned that President Bush just a very short time ago did place a call and speak with the Prime Minister. He called him. He expressed his condolences, and according to a senior administration official, saying he looks forward to meeting and seeing and speaking with the Prime Minister tomorrow.

This, Donna, as we had some very, very strong words coming from President Bush, who is monitoring the situation from the Presidential Retreat. In a statement, he said: "I strongly condemn these acts of murder that no person of conscience can tolerate and no cause can ever justify." He called on Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority to immediately find and arrest those responsible for what he called these hideous murders. He said: "they must also act swiftly and decisively against the organizations that support them."

And then he said now more than ever "Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority must demonstrate through their actions and not merely through their words, their commitment to fight terror."

We know that Secretary of State, Colin Powell, has spoken on the phone with the Palestinian leader. Secretary Powell was also to speak with the Prime Minister. Obviously the situation getting close attention by the Bush White House, and President Bush again to meet with the Israeli Prime Minister at the White House tomorrow. Donna.

KELLEY: All right, near Camp David. Kelly Wallace, thanks very much. And Mike Hanna, who's our Jerusalem Bureau Chief, is traveling with the Israeli Prime Minister and he is joining us from Washington as well. Mike.

MIKE HANNA, CNN JERUSALEM BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Donna, as we heard from Kelly there, that meeting with President Bush that was due to take place Monday has now been moved forward a day, Ariel Sharon saying that the wishes to get back to Israel as soon as possible in the light of this latest attack in the heart of Jerusalem itself.

So the meeting with President Bush will take place at noon tomorrow at the White House. Now, Mr. Sharon had said before when he left Israel that he was going to be bringing a very strong message to that meeting. That message was that he would not move into any form of negotiation whatsoever unless there was a clear period of violence- free days, a seven-day period in which no acts of violence take place.

This had been a matter of debate, discussion among various intermediators, trying to get the two sides in conflict back to the negotiating table. But in the light of recent events, and in the light of the bombing attack earlier on in the course of this evening, certainly Mr. Sharon is going to press that point home even further. Mr. Sharon has made quite clear that he will not, in his words "negotiate under terror."

Anthony Zinni, the Special U.S. representative, former Marine Corps General is still in the region. He is attempting to get the two sides together in cease-fire talks.

Since he arrived just under a week ago, more than 20 people have been killed, Israelis and Palestinians, the bulk of them Israelis in a series of terror acts that have happened over the past four or five days.

So certainly, Mr. Zinni's arrival appears to have sparked off an upsurge in the violence. Anthony Zinni himself saying that there are militants out there who are intent on sabotaging his efforts to get the sides to agree to a cease-fire and to get them back to the negotiating table, that on a day like this where once again a terror attack in the very heart of Jerusalem. Negotiations seem very far away, Donna.

KELLEY: Mike Hanna who is our Jerusalem Bureau Chief, thanks very much from Washington. And General Zinni, as you mentioned, still in the area, and he has in a statement condemned in the strongest possible terms the vicious and evil terrorist attacks in Jerusalem, spoken with Chairman Arafat and made absolutely clear in his words, "that those responsible for planning and carrying out these attacks must be found and brought to justice. No delay, no excuses for not acting right away."

We'll keep you posted. Keep checking in throughout the hour for the latest. You'll get it right here on CNN.

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