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Several Dead in University Blast

Aired July 31, 2002 - 07:13   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.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: We are just getting the first images right now. Again, we are told about some sort of shooting or incident that has taken place. Israeli police, a short time ago, describing it as terrorist activity.

We do not know a whole lot right now, but what we do know is that the location here is Hebrew University, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, Middle East overlooking the Old City there.

The first pictures, again, you are watching them right now. Ambulances, we do know have raced to the scene there, and they are responding in force at this point.

We'll get more as soon as we get it here.

Mike Hanna, our Jerusalem bureau chief, is working that story. And again, Paula, all of this coming down just in the past 30 minutes.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Now, wait, so while I was talking to Eric Margolis, they changed it from an explosion to a shooting? Because the earlier reports on the Associated Press and Reuters suggested an explosion in the Frank Sinatra cafeteria.

Actually, I think we have Mike Hanna up right now in Jerusalem, who might be able to shed some light on that. Let's go back to Mike.

Mike -- good morning.

MIKE HANNA, CNN JERUSALEM BUREAU CHIEF: Well, good morning, Paula.

Well, further details are emerging here. The area in which this explosion took place, confirmed to be an explosion. The exact nature of the explosion, police do not know at this particular stage, what caused this blast in the Frank Sinatra area, it is called, but the actual cafeteria called the Mensa (ph) cafeteria.

Now, although this is a summer vacation, there were reported to be a large amount of people on the campus. There are various summer programs, academic and social, and we have been looking at pictures showing a large amount of people injured, very, very serious situation there from the pictures that are coming in at present.

Israeli police saying that there are several people dead in this explosion. There are a large amount of people injured, as many as 30 were the initial reports. And many of the injured, according to ambulances services, are in a critical condition.

Now, the problem as well, we understand from the scene, is that it's very difficult for rescue workers to get to the area where the cafeteria is, getting the ambulances and the rescue vehicles through the narrow streets of the university, but we are getting more details in.

Authorities still trying to find out exactly what caused this explosion, whether it was a suicide bomb attack or whether it was some other explosive device or explosive method that was used there.

But what we do know at this stage is that a large amount of people wounded, and several people dead, according to Israeli police -- Paula.

ZAHN: Mike, give us a sense of how many students were on campus at the time.

HANNA: Well, that is very difficult to ascertain at this stage. There are, in the normal term-time, thousands of students at that particular campus. However, as I said, it's now in a vacation period. But we understand there were a large amount of various programs going on there.

So the exact number of people who were present at the campus, and indeed, in the cafeteria where the explosion actually took place, that we can't speculate about at this particular stage. But looking at the pictures that we have been getting in by Israeli television is that there were, obviously, a large amount of people in the vicinity of that explosion.

We have seen very many people injured. We have seen the ambulances going in, rescue workers taking a large amount of people out on stretchers. So clearly, this is an event of some serious magnitude, and Israeli police saying several people dead, very many people injured.

We are waiting for further details. These details slow to come, because of the difficulty of access into the area where this explosion took place. But we're getting these details in.

We can confirm, though, according to Israeli police, several people dead in this explosion -- Paula.

ZAHN: And the most unfortunate fact that you're reporting this morning is the difficulty in getting into that area, because of the narrow streets.

Mike, we'll come back to you repeatedly throughout the morning, as more information becomes available.

We should point out that this blast today comes a day after a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up at a food stand in Jerusalem yesterday. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com.



 
 
 
 


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