I attach a news update on three bombs that have rocked downtown Jerusalem this evening.
-- Tom Gross
THREE EXPLOSIONS IN DOWNTOWN JERUSALEM
At least six killed, 163 injured in three explosions in downtown Jerusalem
December 1, 2001
News update, Saturday midnight Israel time
At least six people were killed and over 150 injured when two explosive devices detonated on Ben-Yehuda Street in Jerusalem. Eleven people are in critical condition.
A third explosion went off around twenty minutes later in Rav Kook Street in the area. Jerusalem police Chief Mickey Levy said the third explosion had been caused by a car bomb.
The Jerusalem fire chief Moshe Suissa, who was nearby when the blasts occurred, said that there were two explosions in quick succession close to the junction with King George Street. He told Israel Radio they were likely the work of two suicide bombers "who blew themselves up simultaneously."
Levy also said there had been two suicide bombers, who blew themselves up about 40 meters apart. He said that the car had exploded during the ensuing evacuation of the area. "There is a lot of damage and there are many injured," he said.
The director-general of Magen David Adom, Avi Zohar, said that 163 people had been taken to hospitals in the area, 75 suffering from light injuries, 35 in moderate condition and 11 in critical condition. Several others were suffering from shock.
Zohar said that 50 ambulances had been used to take the wounded to hospital. He said that the hospitals had enough blood reserves as blood had been taken from hospitals around the country.
Doctors at Bikur Holim Hospital, which is several hundred meters from the scene of the blasts, said they had taken in 26 injured, one seriously, one in moderate condition, and 23 lightly wounded. They also confirmed that they had received one person killed in the blast.
Officials at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem said that 15 injured had arrived at the hospital, including four in serious condition.
The director of Hadassah University Hospital, Mount Scopus, said that his hospital had taken in 17 people, seven of whom were in moderate condition and 10 who were had sustained light injuries.
Some 30 ambulances as well as a large police contingent are at the scene of the explosion, and the area has been closed off to traffic.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who is currently in New York, was informed of the attack, and is conferring with his advisors.
No Palestinian group has taken responsibility for the blasts.
"We still do not have exact details of where they came from and who did it and I don't want to jump to hasty conclusions," said Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, who added that he had been in touch with Sharon. "There are many who want to murder the chances for a cease-fire and for peace. Of course the Palestinian Authority has to do more than it is doing."
Bikur Holim Hospital: 12 55 123
Sha'are Zedek Hospital: 12 55 125
Jerusalem municipality: 02 - 8211; 531 4600