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At Least 15 Hurt in Blast Near Tel Aviv

Aired June 11, 2002 - 13:29   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.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Another breaking news story that we are following this hour, and that is a suicide bombing in Jerusalem. We now have our Jerrold Kessel with us live in Jerusalem. We're told 15 casualties, after a bomb went off in a restaurant in Herzliya. That's just north of Tel Aviv.

What more can you tell us right now, Jerrold?

JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, now the casualty figures are being described as thus: nine people taken to a hospital and treated there, others maybe treated for shock and scratches on the sidewalk, but nine people taken to the hospital, of whom two are reported in serious condition, one of them, a small girl.

The attack took place, and it was a suicide bombing. The Israeli police confirming that the bomber's body just outside that restaurant where he struck. It's now 8:30 in the evening. Under an hour ago, in Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv, a popular restaurant, a Middle Eastern style restaurant, where people would eat the kind of falafala (ph) bread and pita bread, sandwiches, meat on the spit (ph), and they were inside. The bomber struck outside, just on the sidewalk.

Many Israeli restaurants and public places have guards on the gate. It is not clear whether he was stopped by a guard. But apparently, there was one report that he asked for a glass of water, and as it was coming, suddenly the explosion took place. Nine people hurt, the bomber himself killed.

This the latest of course in a string of suicide bombings directed against Israeli cities, and the whole of the greater Tel Aviv area had been on something of an alert over the last two days. There had been expectations, reports, Israeli police say they had information, although not pinpoint information, that a bomber would strike.

And as these first pictures come in from the scene, courtesy of Israeli television, we do report that the Israeli -- this bombing attack, the latest comes even though Israeli troops continue to thwart the bombers, they say, at source, with making pinpoint operations, preemptive strikes, the Israeli military calls them, on information they have against would-be bombers in Palestinian cities.

There was one such incursion into the town of Tulkarem. That's just about 15 miles, no more to the northeast of Herzliya, on the West Bank Israel border. Herzliya, which is just north of Tel Aviv, is really in that narrow waist of Israel, between the coastal plain and the West Bank. The tanks are still reported to be in there, in the town of Tulkarem. No reports of arrests there, but Israeli forces have also been operating in other areas.

In the town of Ramallah, some 60 people have been detained over the last two days, and there has been also a siege of Yasser Arafat's compound in Ramallah. There'd also been an attack earlier in the day no Jewish settler high school students, who were out helping to harvest cherries in the West Bank, in one of the settlements there, and as they returned to their bus, an explosion took place. Three of the 15-year-olds were hurt, one of them in serious condition.

So continuing and against Israelis, both in the West Bank, and again inside Israeli cities. The Israeli incursions, counter-strikes, but really what Israelis call preemptive strikes into Palestinian towns continuing -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Jerrold Kessel live from Jerusalem, with that breaking news story as the suicide bomber sets off that blast in a Herzliya restaurant, just north of Tel Aviv.

Jerrold, thank you so much.

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