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Terrorist Attacks Kill 13, Wound 80 Israelis

Aired March 9, 2002 - 19:34   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.
CATHERINE CALLAWAY, CNN ANCHOR: A week marred by violence in the Middle East intensified today, at the end of the Jewish sabbath. More than 80 people were wounded, 13 killed in two separate attacks in Israel.

Let's go to CNN's Michael Holmes, who is standing by in Jerusalem with the very latest. Michael, what is the latest?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Catherine. Thanks once again.

Well, yes, in fact, we can say that in the last few hours since this violence began, more than 100 wounded and over a dozen killed on both sides. But as you said, more than 80 wounded Israelis alone.

Now, the first incident happened at about 10:30 p.m. local time. That's about four hours ago. And that happened when a suicide bomber walked into Cafe Moment (ph), which is a very, very popular cafe here in Jerusalem. Young and old alike at the very trendy place together. A suicide bomber walked in there, and detonated what police said was a massive amount of explosives. Witnesses spoke of a huge blast.

Now, the death toll at this point stands at 11 confirmed dead. Without being too gruesome, we don't know yet whether that includes the suicide bomber. Forensic police on the scene simply haven't been able to determine that of yet.

Also, 50 or so people wounded, in the low 50s. Some reports about 54. Several of those people seriously.

Now, about two hours before that, in the coastal town of Netanya, that's just north of Tel-Aviv, two gunmen opened fire in a hotel lobby. Apparently, according to witnesses, firing indiscriminately, in all directions, inside the hotel and outside the hotel on a crowded promenade, a pedestrian walkway, where people were enjoying the evening.

It is the sabbath -- it was the sabbath on Sunday, of course, and when the sabbath ends, it is a tradition for people here to go out and socialize and have a drink and meet their friends and grab a meal. And that's what people were doing in Netanya when the two gunmen opened fire. Two people confirmed dead in that incident, a man, and tragically, a nine-month-old baby girl, who died in hospital.

Now, at least 35, perhaps as many as the low 40s is the injury toll in that incident. Several of those injuries also serious.

Now, responsibility for that was claimed by the Al Aksa Brigade. That's a militia, tied or affiliated with Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement. And they claimed responsibility very quickly. I should point out that in the first incident, the suicide bomber, that was claimed by the military wing of Hamas, who even provided the name of the suicide bomber.

Deaths and injuries on both sides of this conflict, however, today and tonight. In Ramallah, helicopters, Israeli helicopters firing two missiles at a refugee camp in Ramallah. A car was hit; Palestinian security sources tell us that the intended victim of this strike was an official from the Al Aksa Brigade, and in fact, his brother was killed, not the official.

And also this evening, Israeli missiles striking at presidential compounds both in Gaza and the West Bank. Yasser Arafat, of course, not at either place. He is in Ramallah, where he has been kept by Israeli forces, kept isolated there for some three months.

So as the day's events unfolded, a bloody day at the end of a bloody week, the two sides seemed just as far apart as ever.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DORE GOLD, SPOKESMAN, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: We cannot tolerate the situation where in the area under Yasser Arafat's jurisdiction there is a vast infrastructure of international terrorism. That is a principle that Israel is putting forward, but it is also a principle of the international community today, after September 11. You cannot harbor and give shelter to international terrorist organizations, and expect the country to just absorb these blows.

SAEB ARAKAT, CHIEF PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATOR: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) between us and the Israelis (UNINTELLIGIBLE) international terrorism or Taliban or (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that we have no trust between each other. That's why (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is really urgently needed. That's why we will come, as Palestinians, to mission of General Zinni, and I believe we should give General Zinni every chance for him to succeed. He has to succeed. This cycle must be broken.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: As you heard Saeb Arakat say there, the U.S. special envoy, Anthony Zinni, due here next Thursday, in fact, to push for a cease-fire. Both sides say they want a cease-fire. Obviously at the moment, neither is prepared to be the first to declare one -- Catherine.

CALLAWAY: All right, CNN's Michael Holmes.

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