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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Reports: Explosion at Shopping Mall in Northeastern Israel

Aired May 19, 2003 - 10:26   ET

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

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We need to get to some breaking news right now, and that is the word out of Israel, news from Associated Press and Reuters that yet another explosion has taken place in Israel. This one rocking a shopping mall taking place in the northern Israeli city of Afula.
No word yet on casualties or who is claiming responsibility. But this, of course, coming in the spate of a number of other suicide bombings taking place over the last day or so.

Our Kelly Wallace is standing by with more on that -- Kelly.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN JERUSALUM CORRESPONDENT: Well, Daryn, my colleagues here are working the phones right now. Here is what we can tell you. An explosion heard, yes, as you said, in the northern Israeli city of Afula. To give people some idea of where that is, that is between Tel Aviv and Haifa in northern Israel.

We are told, according to Israeli hospital sources, that there was an explosion at a shopping mall. According to Israeli police, I believe they do believe it was a suicide bombing attack, and we do believe there are some people dead. No word just yet on how many deaths, how many injured. This all just coming in right now, Daryn.

And to put this in perspective, before this attack, there were four suicide bombings in this region in 36 hours, one on the West Bank on Saturday, two in Israel on Sunday and then one on Monday, today, in the Gaza Strip. In that case, a man, a Palestinian man was on a bicycle packed with explosives and blew himself up next to an Israel army patrol. Three soldiers were injured there, only the suicide bomber killed.

The most deadly attack that we have seen so far was Sunday morning, when a man got on a bus in a Jerusalem neighborhood, blew himself up and killed seven people -- six Israelis and one Palestinian.

Now, before this attack, those four others, the radical Palestinian group, Hamas, had claimed responsibility for all of these attacks, and had vowed to continue these attacks. Again, not clear who could be responsible for this, but the information now that there has been, according to Israeli officials, an explosion, a suicide bombing attack in this northern Israeli city. This would be a Monday afternoon. It is the work week, but a Monday afternoon, a shopping mall likely to be filled, of course, with people.

No word yet on how many injured, how many dead, but right now, Daryn, according to sources, there are some people who were killed in this incident -- Daryn.

KAGAN: All right, we'll be tracking that and checking back with you for more information on that latest bombing in the northern Israeli city of Afula. Kelly Wallace, thank you.

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