Monday, January 28, 2008

My moment of fame

"A Moment of Silence, and Then the Screams Began"

How an eyewitness described the bombing that took place Friday, at the entrance to the Machane Yehuda Market.

By Ami Ben David and Daliah Mazor (from either Yediot Ahranot or Maariv. I did not jot down the name of the paper and now I don't remember....)

Translated by Gila Weiss

April 14, 2002

"I saw a woman try to enter the shuk (market), but apparently someone stopped her. A few seconds later, there was an explosion. There was an enormous flame. A hand flew over my head"-this was how one of the victims of the bombing in Jerusalem described what happened on Friday, at the entrance to Jerusalem's Machane Yehuda Market. She saw the suicide bomber, a young woman, aged 20, from the shtachim (territories), moments before the bomber sowed death in the bustling heart of Israel's capital. Six families lost their loved ones. One hundred and four people will be forced to struggle with injuries.

The time was 4:15, the hour prices at the shuk fall. The last shoppers hurried to the site, before the start of Shabbat. Among them walked the terrorist, a super-powerful package of explosive plastique on her body. The material is so destructive, that screws and nails are not needed in order to increase the damage. She had received it from her handlers, members of the Al Aksa Marytrs Brigades, which is connected with Fatach, itself controlled by Yassar Arafat. When the terrorist realized that everyone was being checked at the entrances to the shuk, she turned around and walked towards the nearby bus stop, opposite Hava Bakery. There, she waited a short while, until a bus arrived. When the driver opened the door, and the passengers began getting on and off the bus, she blew herself up.

"As soon as there was an explosion, it was clear that this was a bombing", sobbed Elisheva, a resident of the city who stood at the site, her clothes stained with blood. "Suddenly the entire shuk halted, just stopped. Inside the bus stop, tens of wounded had been thrown to the ground. I saw a young girl with blood flowing from her head; I lifted her up and she cried in my arms and said: 'today is my 17th birthday'. I told her: 'at least you are alive, at least you are alive".

"For seconds after the explosion it was quiet", related Yisrael Levy, 23, "but then hysterical screaming began. I saw people who were shredded, injured people shouting for help. An elderly man with nothing on his body but blood-drenched tsitist". Rachamin, 39, and a greengrocer at the shuk said, "It has been calm for a little, but now everything has come back. That acrid smell that I cannot describe. I don't know if I can go back to work". [GW-I think that he is referring here to the fact that there was another bombing at Machane Yehuda in 1997] Another woman said "It was horrible, not at all like the photos you see on television". [GW-oh, I so want to have fun with this one. But this is a serious article so I will leave it alone.]

"We heard the explosion and we raced to the scene", related tafser mishne Moshe Suissa, who was with one of his co-workers from the fire department next to the site of the bombing. "We started picking up injured people, putting them into private cars and they flew to the hospital". "There were police officers stationed at all of the entrances to the shuk, and some of them were injured in the blast", reported the Commander-Jerusalem District, Major General Micky Levi. Inspector General, Commissioner Shlomo Ahronishki, who visited the site of the bombing, said, "we are at maximum deployment, but we cannot seal every centimeter of the city".

Friday evening, the hospitals had already tallied up the grim totals. Six people will not go home again. One hundred and four were injured, six of them seriously (here I am). Some of the injured lost body parts; others were burned all over their bodies. Last night, 19 people (oh, and again here) remained hospitalized in hospitals across the city.

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