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Suicide Bomber Strikes Shopping Area in Tel Aviv

Aired January 25, 2002 - 06:00   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.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: We want to go live now to Israel for breaking news on the latest suicide attack. A man on a motor scooter has detonated a bomb at a crowded shopping area near an old bus station in Tel Aviv. Several people are injured, one person dead.

CNN Jerusalem bureau chief Mike Hanna joins us live with the latest. What happened Mike?

MIKE HANNA, CNN JERUSALEM BUREAU CHIEF: Well Carol about an hour and a half ago, in the middle of Tel Aviv there was an explosion, which police said was a suicide bomb attack. According to police, a man leaning against a motor scooter detonated an explosive device right near the old bus station in the very center of the city at a crowded time. Many people shopping at that particular time of the day.

The police say that more than 20 people were injured in the attack. At least two of them, according to hospital authorities are in serious condition. But at this stage the only fatality in the attack was the man that police said was the suicide bomber. He died in the explosion. So the latest casualty figures 22 people injured, two of them seriously, one person killed in the bomb attack, and that, say police, was the suicide bomber himself.

There's been ongoing violence in the region throughout this week, and overnight Israeli forces killed a known Hamas militant in the Gaza Strip. The man was killed when an Israeli helicopter fired a missile at his vehicle. Two others in the car are reported to have been injured. The Israeli authority say that the man was responsible for a number of terror attacks against Israeli targets and was planning further such attacks.

Also overnight two other Palestinians shot and killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, they were also members of the militant Hamas movement. Israeli authorities say that they were attempting to gain entry to a Jewish settlement in the area. Israel says it will continue carrying out such actions, it says in self-defense, attempting to prevent attacks against Israeli targets.

Palestinian authorities continue to insist that action such as assassinations of individuals, the ongoing Israeli occupation of various Palestinian controlled areas serves only to provoke militants making it more difficult for the Palestinian authority to clamp down on their activities Carol. COSTELLO: Yes the strategy only seems to be escalating the violence, doesn't it?

HANNA: Well the Israeli authorities contend that if they were not carrying out such measures, there would be even more attacks against the Israeli civilian targets.

However, as I said, the Palestinians say exactly the opposite. They maintain that the aggressive actions being undertaken by the Sharon government, which Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, says amounts to self defense serve only to fuel the fires of Palestinian anger, and saying that in the long-term it's creating death, which it expressly is attempting to prevent.

So argument about that, Israel absolutely convinced that it needs to take such preemptive action to stop further attacks and even those attacks that have occurred, Israel says are a minute amount of what would be occurring if they did not take actions in Palestinian controlled territories because Israel contends the Palestinian authority is not doing so -- Carol.

COSTELLO: We'll see what happens next. Thank you. Mike Hanna reporting live for us from Jerusalem this morning.

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