October 21, 2002
©2002 Reuters/Ronen Lidor
A casualty is evacuated from the burning bus.
Firefighters extinguishing blaze in bus destroyed by a car bomb.
©2002 Reuters/Nir Elias
Police inspect wreckage of burnt out bus following suicide bombing.
©2002 Reuters/Nir Elias
Rescue workers remove charred body of victim from burnt-out wreckage of bus.
Fourteen people were killed and some 50 wounded when a car bomb containing about 100 kilograms of explosives was detonated next to a No. 841 Egged bus from Kiryat Shmona to Tel-Aviv, while traveling along Wadi Ara on Route No. 65 towards Hadera. The bus had pulled over at a bus stop when the suicide bomber, from Jenin, driving a jeep, approached from behind and exploded.
The explosion ignited the fuel tank, and in the resulting blaze, the bus was completely gutted, as were two nearby cars. The intensity of the flames at first prevented police and rescue workers from approaching the bus. It took an hour to bring the fire under control and the vehicle was reduced to to a blackened skeleton. Ammunition carried by soldiers riding the bus blew up in a chain of explosions, adding to the hazards for victims and rescue workers.
The military wing of Islamic Jihad, the Al-Quds Brigades, claimed responsibility for the blast, saying that it was carried out by Ashraf al-Asama, 18, and Mohammed al-Hasnin, 19, both from Jenin.
The attack was reminiscent of another bombing organized by leading Islamic Jihad terrorist Iyad Sawalha, who currently heads Israel’s list of wanted men: the attack at the Megiddo Junction on June 5, in which 17 civilians and soldiers were killed when a booby-trapped car drove up to an Egged bus and exploded.
– Osnat Abramov, 16, of Holon
– Indelou Ashati, 54, of Hadera
– St.-Sgt. Liat Ben-Ami, 20, of Haifa
– Ofra Burger, 56, of Hod Hasharon
– Cpl. Ilona Hanukayev, 20, of Hadera
– Suad Jaber, 23, of Taibe
– Iris Lavi, 68, of Netanya
– Sgt.-Maj.(res.) Eliezer Moskovitch, 40, of Petah Tikva
– St.-Sgt. Nir Nahum, 20, of Carmiel
– Sgt. Esther Pesachov, 19, of Givat Olga
– St.-Sgt. Aiman Sharuf, 20, of Ussfiyeh
– Sergei Shavchuk, 35, of Afula
– Anat Shimshon, 33, of Ra’anana
– Cpl. Sharon Tubol, 19, of Arad
Suicide car bombers kill 14, injure 42 – Oct 22, 2002
‘A flying body landed on my windshield’ – Oct 22, 2002
Islamic Jihad claims responsibility – Oct 22, 2002
Border Police must build memorials for its own fallen memorial keepers – Oct 23, 2002
14 dead at Karkur junction – Oct 22, 2002
‘People were burned alive inside my bus’ – Oct 22, 2002
‘The whole country is a battlefield’ – Oct 23, 2002
Reactions of world leaders:
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan: (Oct 21, 2002)
"The Secretary-General is appalled by the terrorist car bomb attack in northern Israel earlier today in which at least 14 persons were killed and many others injured. He reiterates his condemnation of attacks against civilians in the strongest possible terms and conveys his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and the Government of Israel. The Secretary-General once again calls on all Palestinian groups to stop immediately all such acts of violence."
US President George Bush: (Oct 21, 2002)
"The President condemns the most recent attack in Israel. It’s another reminder of how it’s so important for peace to be pursued and for terror to be stopped."
(Communicated by White House spokesman Ari Fleischer)
US Middle East envoy William Burns: (Damascus, Oct 22, 2002)
"Yesterday’s terrorist attack against a civilian bus in northern Israel claimed by a Palestinian group with offices here in Damascus was a reprehensible act. It does severe damage to Palestinian interests and aspirations, it cannot be tolerated by anyone who genuinely is interested in peace. If we are to succeed in ending occupation, building two states and resuming progress toward comprehensive peace it is critically important to stop the violence that has done so much to undermine legitimate Palestinian aspirations. There has been far too much suffering and bloodshed on both sides, and both sides have an obligation to make it stop."
EU High Representative for CSFP Javier Solana: (Oct 21, 2002)
"I have just conveyed to the Israeli Foreign Minister, Simon Peres, my personal distress and my strongest condemnation, which is total and unreserved, of the terrorist attack that killed and injured many people in the North of Israel. I also wish to express my personal grief to the families of the victims.
Difficult as it might seem, at times such as these, what Israelis and Palestinians need more than ever is less blood, and more commitment to reestablish a fruitful cooperation that should lead to dialogue and peace."
Presidency of the European Union: (Oct 21, 2002)
"The Presidency of the European Union strongly condemns this afternoon’s suicide attack on a bus killing at least 14 innocent Israeli civilians and injuring more than 50 in the heart of Israel. The Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for this abhorrent act…
The Presidency urges both sides to do their utmost to bring an end to all acts of terror and violence that serve to fuel hatred and undermine attempts by the parties and the international community to bring about reconciliation and hope for a peaceful solution to the conflict.
We appeal to the Palestinian Authority to do everything within its power to prevent terrorist attacks and to bring those responsible to justice."
Statement issued by the Foreign Ministry of France: (Oct 21, 2002)
"La France condamne avec la plus grande fermeté l’attentat-suicide qui vient de se produire à Pardès Hanna, dans le nord d’Israël, et qui a fait de très nombreuses victimes.
Nous présentons nos sincères condoléances à leurs familles.
Les actes de ce type sont inacceptables et doivent cesser. Leurs auteurs doivent être poursuivis et traduits en justice. Encore une fois, les groupes armés palestiniens doivent comprendre qu’ils n’obtiendront rien par la violence.
Aujourd’hui, les parties doivent tout mettre en oeuvre pour mettre un terme à cette violence et rétablir une perspective politique crédible, seule à même de faire taire les armes."
|The Islamic Jihad Terrorist Infrastructure in Jenin – October 2002|
|Map of terror attacks in the Wadi Ara region – Ha’aretz, Oct 22, 2002|
|Palestinian violence and terrorism since Sept 2000|
|In Memory of the Victims of Palestinian Violence and Terrorism|
|Suicide and Other Bombing Attacks in Israel Since the Declaration of Principles (Sept 1993)|