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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Five Dead in Bus Bombing

Aired September 19, 2002 - 07:32   ET

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

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to bring you up to date now on what is going on in Tel Aviv in the wake of that suicide bombing there on a very crowded street at the end of the lunch hour, on Allenby Street. This is a place where thousands of people gather every day at that hour of the day, Israel time.
It is believed that among the five dead was the bus driver as well as the suicide bomber. The Associated Press reporting at least 49 people wounded, some of them seriously.

Jerrold Kessel joins us now from our bureau in Jerusalem with more -- Jerrold, what have you learned?

JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Paula, one interesting thing, a pretty painful thing but one interesting thing, the Israeli police chief, who was interviewed just minutes ago on Israeli television, saying the that bus driver of that number four bus, which is possibly the busiest bus in downtown Tel Aviv, crisscrossing the Israeli metropolis, that he, he was himself killed, the driver.

And the police chief saying that they believe what might have happened is he might have prevented a much larger fatality toll because it seems that he might have blocked the bus, the bomber as he boarded the bus. That's the working assumption of the police as they try to piece together exactly what happened in this latest terror incident in the heart of an Israeli city.

The fatality figures, as you rightly say, five dead. It's confirmed now. That's in addition to the bomber himself. And some, more than 50 people have been taken to hospital for treatment. As is generally the case, probably more might come later, having suffered anxiety attacks, trauma, a post-incident traumatic experience. And they usually come, people -- this has happened in previous such bombings -- come to hospital for reassurance, for treatment, for some kind of medical attention.

But at the moment, of those 50 or so people who have been treated in hospital, a number are reported in serious condition. In fact, a number with life threatening injuries.

As this second day in a row that we've had an attack, one yesterday in the northern part of the country, in the Galilee. A man had been standing at a bus stop apparently planning to board an inter- urban bus when a police car approached him. A policeman got out to ask the man what was happening, try to identify him and the man blew himself up immediately, apparently prematurely because the police believe he wanted to board the bus. He didn't. The Israeli policeman was killed. Three other Israeli civilians were wounded in that suicide attack. And now what seems to be another suicide attack in Tel Aviv. Five people at least killed and some 50 wounded -- Paula.

ZAHN: Jerrold Kessel, thanks so much.

And just to give you some perspective, we were on the phone with the spokesperson for Ariel Sharon, who is blaming this all on the Palestinian Authority, saying they have failed to clamp down on their security forces. Of course, the Palestinians responding in kind, saying they are in prison and they don't have the ability to control extremism.

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