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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Death Count Up to at Least 15

Aired March 5, 2003 - 09:56   ET

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

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: The death count is up to at least 15 in Northern Israel as a result of a bus bombing there.
Let's check in with Jerrold Kessel live on the scene.

Good morning.

JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Paula.

Grim, grim, grim, and that's an understatement. If you look at the devastation that's been left of bus number 37, the suburban bus carrying the glorious -- the normally glorious port city of Haifa, you will see all that remains of that bus. So powerful was the explosion you can see that the the roof completely, part of it was burst right off the vehicle, and the rest, the back of the bus where the force of the explosion came was thrown over like a catapult to the top with the air conditioning you can on the front of the bus. And now the grim work inside of cleaning up, searching for body parts, searching for any evidence that may help the police determine what and who was behind this bombing.

The latest count, as you say, in fatalities is 15 dead and some 50, at least 50 wounded, many of whom are in serious condition. And the police are still not absolutely certain whether it was a suicide bomber. There is the working assumption, but the force of the explosion itself, the police commanders, who I have been speaking with in the last few minutes, estimate that the amount of explosives was something around 30 pounds, and that fits, they say, a belt, a suicide bomber's bell. But they haven't found the evidence of that. They can't determine who was the bomber, whether there was indeed a bomber on the scene or not.

But the grim work now of the cleanup in the bus, searching for evidence, as Israel comes to terms with another attack by Palestinians inside one of their cities. The first in two months, as Israel maintains its own offensive inside Palestinian towns to stop -- to try to stop the bombers at source -- Paula.

ZAHN: Jerrold Kessel, on the scene, live from Haifa in northern Israel. Thanks for the live update.

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