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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Explosion in Tel Aviv

Aired December 11, 2003 - 06:30   ET

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

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: We want to get more now on that breaking news out of Israel. There has been a big explosion on a major thoroughfare in Tel Aviv. The cause? Not known yet.
John Vause, though, is following developments. He's live from Jerusalem.

And Reuters has a different report, A.P. is reporting something else. This is really confusing this morning -- John.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Carol, in this world where there are so many terrorist attacks, when you hear an explosion, you automatically assume that it is, in fact, a terrorist attack. This one appears to be taking a very different twist.

Now, according to some witnesses at the scene, they saw a major underworld crime figure entering the money exchanging shop shortly before the blast, a man by the name of Isaiah Rosenstein (ph), who is, in fact, wanted by police for a number of crimes, including target assassinations of rival gang members. So, just to throw that into the mix as well.

If this is, in fact, a criminal-targeted assassination, it would be one of the most violent, though, in Israel's history.

At this stage, we do know from Israeli police that three people are dead, and Israel Radio is, in fact, reporting that 19 have been hurt, following that explosion, which by all indications was a very, very powerful blast. It damaged nearby cars, as well as injuring so many people.

But right now, we are trying to work out exactly what has been going on, but authorities are here certainly learning towards the fact that this was a criminal act rather than a terrorist attack -- Carol.

COSTELLO: John Vause reporting live from Jerusalem this morning. We'll get back to you if there are any breaking developments.

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