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Explosion Near Jerusalem Neighborhood French Hill

Aired June 19, 2002 - 12:22   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Well we've been following another story that just happened. It came across The Associated Press wires, we've now confirmed this: an explosion near a Jerusalem neighborhood. Israeli radio is reporting 20 people wounded.

We've got our Christiane Amanpour back with us. Evidently had some more information for us -- Christiane, what can you tell us?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well according to the ambulance services here in Jerusalem, at about 20 minutes ago, about 7:05 local time, there was an explosion in an area that's known as French Hill in eastern Jerusalem, northeast Jerusalem. And according to these ambulance services, who have dispatched their rescue crews and other medical personnel, there appear to be 20 people injured, eight of whom are seriously injured.

At this point, we cannot confirm the nature of this explosion. So that is the latest and very bare details that we have. We're obviously sending crews down there and we will be bringing you all the information as soon as we have it.

But this happened, as I say, according to officials here, about 20 minutes ago in an area of Jerusalem -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. Christiane Amanpour, thanks so much.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: And following the breaking news story out of Jerusalem right now, once again we want to tell you there was an explosion near the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem. It happened just about 20 minutes ago, that's noon our time, about 7:00 Jerusalem time.

Actually, we're bringing you pictures now from Israeli TV. These are the first pictures that we've been able to get in of this explosion near the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem. There are live pictures, we are told -- live pictures from Israeli television.

Twenty people are wounded so far. These are the reports that we're getting. Twenty people wounded, eight seriously.

You'll know that this blast comes just one day after a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 19 people on a bus in southern Jerusalem. The deadliest bombing in the city in six years. Hamas claimed responsibility for that attack yesterday. And now we are seeing yet another explosion.

This one, we're bringing you live pictures from Israeli television. An explosion near the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem. Twenty people wounded, we are told, eight seriously. We are working this story to try to get as much information to you as possible.

Once again, this comes just a day after Israeli military forces thundered back into a number of West Bank towns trying to quell the surge of terrorists they say that are in those areas. Once again, an explosion near the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem. Twenty wounded, eight seriously.

Live pictures now from Israeli TV. Christiane Amanpour is again with us. We're going to bring her in on this to talk a little bit more. Christiane, have you been able to find out anything -- any more details to this?

AMANPOUR: Well the first pictures are coming in from Israeli television stations and their satellite trucks which are at the scene. You can see already that the ambulances have reached the scene.

The police confirmed the explosion, which the ambulance service has told us about several moments ago. Both the ambulances service and police are saying that the figure is about 20 people wounded, at least eight seriously, with army radio in the last few minutes saying that at least four people have been critically wounded.

The police have said that they do not know the precise nature of this explosion yet. They said it is possible it could be a suicide bombing, but we do not know the precise nature of this explosion yet.

As you can imagine, in the aftermath of yesterday's suicide bombing in Jerusalem, which killed 19 people, officials and authorities here warned residents to be on the alert. They say that it's possible that other suicide bombers are being dispatched into Israel, and not only into Jerusalem, but in other cities around Israel as well.

Yesterday's bombing was the worst such bombing, suicide bombing in six years, when 19 people were killed and about 50 people were injured. We are still sending our own crews down to that area. It's called French Hill. It's a neighborhood in Jerusalem, a Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem, and we're waiting to find and have confirmation on the precise nature of that explosion -- back to you, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: And Christiane, Israel meanwhile standing firm, saying that it is not going to stop reoccupying parts of Palestinian territory until they see a cease in these bombings, correct?

AMANPOUR: Well, in the aftermath, as I say, we still don't know the precise nature of what happened today. But in the aftermath of yesterday's rather massive suicide bombing, in which an incredible number, 19 people were killed, 50 people were wounded, some of whom are still in critical condition, the Israelis again ratcheted up their response. And what they did was they announced today a major policy shift, which amounts to going into West Bank areas that are meant to be under control of the Palestinian Authority and reoccupying those areas, saying that unless terrorism stops and until terrorism stops, they will stay in certain areas.

They went into Jenin overnight. They are still there. And they're in other cities as well.

Police now are telling CNN that there are a number of dead in today's explosion in that east Jerusalem neighborhood known as French Hill. So what we have now is some police confirmation that a number -- we don't know the precise number -- but a number of people are dead. We have been told until now that 20 people at least were wounded today; some eight of those in critical condition.

And police are now saying that this was, in fact, the work of a suicide bomber. So this is what they had warned people about yesterday, and this apparently now appears to be confirmed by Jerusalem police saying that this, in fact, is the latest suicide bombing in the Jerusalem area -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. Our Christiane Amanpour, live from Jerusalem, thank you so much.

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