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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Interview With Israel Police Spokesperson

Aired March 5, 2003 - 07:49   ET

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

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: We have more breaking news out of Israel.
On the phone with us is Gil Kleiman, a spokesperson for Israeli police on the heels of news that a bomb has caused some casualties in the port city of Haifa.

Mr. Kleiman, what can you tell us? What's happened here?

CHIEF GIL KLEIMAN, ISRAELI POLICE: I can say that about 15 minutes ago, an explosion occurred on a bus, an intercity bus -- an intra-city bus, a city bus in the Haifa area. What we know now is that it was evidently a very strong explosion, and we have a number of wounded. It's too early yet to say exactly what the cause of the explosion and whether we're dealing with a possible suicide bomber or if we're dealing with an explosive device that was placed on the bus.

But right now, we're dealing with a lot of wounded. They're being dealt with on the scene. And as we progress, we'll know better what's going on.

ZAHN: Have you heard any other descriptions from the scene?

KLEIMAN: Well, there's a lot -- there's an extensive amount of damage, structural damage, both to the bus and to the stores in the area. The bus had just pulled out of a bus stop when the explosion occurred at the rear part of the bus. And it's unclear, like I said, of what the exact cause of the explosion, but what we're doing is we're treating it as a terrorist attack. There's no question that it was a terrorist attack. The question is whether it was a possible suicide bomber or a bomb. That's going to be checked by the forensics team that are right now working.

Of course, our first objective is to get the wounded out, and that's our first priority, and that's what we're doing right now.

ZAHN: Once again on the phone with us, Gil Kleiman, a spokesperson for Israeli police describing to us early accounts of what we believe has happened in Haifa in northern Israel, a port city.

Mr. Kleiman, I understand you're talking about the bus had just pulled out. That was at the entrance of a neighborhood called Carmilya, right, in Haifa?

KLEIMAN: This is the Carmilya area of Haifa. Of course, it belongs to the Haifa police, and it's part of the city of Haifa. The exact area is the Carmilya area. What's important for us, of course, is not so much the area (UNINTELLIGIBLE) bus and innocent civilians were targeted. That was the point of the terrorist attack, not exactly where it occurred, but rather that innocent people would be wounded or hurt.

ZAHN: Well, we would like to stay in touch with you, so you can update us on what is happening at the scene. I know it is very difficult to assess so quickly how many casualties you're looking at and the possibility of deaths.

Gil Kleiman, a spokesperson for the Israeli police department.

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