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In Jerusalem, Seven Israelis Killed in Bombing

Aired July 31, 2002 - 08:32   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.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Bill, let's go right to Jerusalem where Dore Gold is standing by, an adviser to the prime minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon.

Welcome to AMERICAN MORNING.

Can you tell us what you know about the explosion at Hebrew University about an hour and a half ago?

DORE GOLD, ISRAELI GOVT. SPOKESMAN: Well, this afternoon in Jerusalem, very tragically, we have now seven Israelis who have been killed in a terrorist bombing. We have close to 85 Israelis wounded. The evacuation of the area was very slow, because of our concern that the Palestinians had planted other bombs to go after the medical rescue teams.

In any event, we have seven dead and 85 wounded from an attack on the cafeteria at the Hebrew University.

ZAHN: Can you confirm what the source of the attack was?

GOLD: We know that a purse or some kind of a piece of luggage was left in the cafeteria which had the explosive materials in it. That seems to be coming from police reports at present. Hamas has taken credit for the attack.

ZAHN: Early eyewitness accounts suggested that some people thought they saw a suicide bomber queue up in the cafeteria line. Any credence to that? Could that be the same person that perhaps left the bag on the ground?

GOLD: We have no information on that. You know, right now, of course, we're dealing with our wounded. We're dealing with informing families of the dead, and the exact details of this attack where, for example, the bomber might have come from, who he was who helped him, are matters that our security services will have to determine in the hours ahead.

ZAHN: We just had an eye witness on the air, a gentleman named Allister Goldwine, who talked about what he described as anarchy when he entered the cafeteria. He said as a student, he was surprised anybody could penetrate the security, because he said everybody had to have whatever was on their body checked. What can you tell us about that and the level of security at the university? GOLD: Well, again, I wouldn't want to go into the details of what kind of security arrangements exist in place. I'm sure they'll be reviewed. There is usually come kind of check when you go into the university campus itself, and again another check before anyone could enter into a crowded cafeteria.

But clearly, the Hamas organization, if they were behind this bombing, understood who -- how our security operations worked and managed to infiltrate this explosive package. I want to add that yesterday, Abi Dekter (ph), the head of our internal security services in Shabach (ph), warned the people of Israel that some 60, 6-0, separate bombing attacks are being planned at present, and the Hamas leader, who Israel eliminated last week, was planning alone attacks in six separate Israeli cities.

ZAHN: So what does your government plan to do about that?

GOLD: Well, first of all, the military and security services will have to evaluate who really stood behind this attack. Was it Hamas, for example? Second of all, we're going to have to see whether many of our efforts to try and create a better condition for the Palestinian population were exploited by terrorist organizations. Whether the Hamas or the Al Aqsa Martyr Brigades were responsible for attacks against us yesterday.

For example, if we let in 12,000 Palestinian workers into our economy so that they can quickly generate some income into the Palestinian economy, are Palestinian organizations infiltrating their terrorists, their suicide bombers, into those 12,000 people? That's something which I'm sure our security services will be very carefully looking at.

A second question has to do with what's happening with money. Our government decided to turn over some of the funds that we have from collecting Palestinian taxes at our ports. And, of course, those funds could be used by Palestinian Authority officials in improper ways in transferring funds to different organizations. That has to be carefully looked at, although at present, the Palestinians have refused to receive the funds that we promised.

So all these issues will be carefully examined, and I'm sure or security establishment will take recommendations to the Israeli cabinet.

ZAHN: Can retaliation be expected, just based on this attack alone? I know you cited the other 60 proposed separate bombing attacks.

GOLD: You know, this is not a game of tit for tat, and retaliation is not what we're speaking about. The war on terrorism is a very careful and slow process of acquiring intelligence about where the terrorists are, singling them out, separating them from the civilian population, many of whom don't want to be involved in this terrorist war, and breaking the infrastructure of terrorism.

It's not a war that you win overnight. It's not the six-day war of 35 years ago where you encircle an adversaries tanks and bring it to a conclusion quickly. The United States, for example, has not completed its war against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and you face continued warnings of attacks from the Al Qaeda organization. But with determination, with resolve and with national consensus, we will win our war against terrorism here, as you will the war against terrorism there.

ZAHN: Dore Gold, adviser to the prime minister of Israel, thank you so much for your time this morning, especially so quickly after this explosion at Hebrew University. Again, thanks for your time.

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