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Suicide Bombing on Jerusalem Bus Kills 23

(August 19, 2003)

Twenty-three people were killed and more than130 wounded when a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated a five-kilogram device packed with ball-bearings on a crowded No. 2 Egged bus in Jerusalem’s Shmuel Hanavi neighborhood. Many of the passengers were returning from prayers at the Western WallHamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

For the ultra-Orthodox, the attack took place not only during the vacation, but also on the eve of the month of Elul, the month of selihot – the special penitential prayers recited during the week before Rosh Hashanah.

As a result of the attack, the Cabinet decided on September 1, 2003, to wage an all-out war against Hamas and other terrorist elements, and to freeze the diplomatic process with the Palestinian Authority.

The Victims

Avraham Bar-Or, 12, of Jerusalem
Binyamin Bergman, 15, of Jerusalem
Yaakov Binder, 50, of Jerusalem
Feiga Dushinski, 50, of Jerusalem
Miriam Eisenstein, 20, of Bnei Brak
Lilach Kardi, 22, of Jerusalem
Menachem Leibel, 24, of Jerusalem
Elisheva Meshulami, 16, of Bnei Brak
Tehilla Nathanson, 3, of Zichron Ya'acov
Chava Nechama Rechnitzer, 19, of Bnei Brak
Mordechai Reinitz, 49, and Issachar Reinitz, 9, of Netanya
Maria Antonia Reslas, 39, of the Philippines
Liba Schwartz, 54, of Jerusalem
Hanoch Segal, 65, of Bnei Brak
Goldie Taubenfeld, 43, and Shmuel Taubenfeld, 3 months, of New Square, New York
Rabbi Eliezer Weisfish, 42, of Jerusalem
Shmuel Wilner, 50, of Jerusalem
Shmuel Zargari, 11 months, of Jerusalem.
Fruma Rahel Weitz, 73, of Jerusalem died of her wounds on August 23.
Mordechai Laufer, 27, of Netanya died of his wounds on September 5.
Tova Lev, 37, of Bnei-Brak died of her wounds on September 12.


Aug 20: U.S. President George Bush telephoned Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and sent his condolences to the families of those murdered in last night’s terror attack. Sharon said that despite pressure from the U.S. and Israel, the Palestinian Authority had not taken any steps to eliminate terror, and the results are terrible attacks as seen last night in Jerusalem. Sharon added that as long as the Palestinians do not act seriously and continuously against terror, there can be no progress in the diplomatic arena, despite Israel’s strong desire to continue on this path as quickly as possible. President Bush said that there can be no compromise on terror and that we are obliged to pursue people who murder women and children. The President said that those organizations whose raison d’etre is to murder innocent people and to destroy the peace process must themselves be eliminated.

Aug 20: The European Commission strongly condemns last night’s devastating terrorist attack in Jerusalem and expresses its sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to the Israeli Government. This is an attack on all the forces working for peace. The European Commission calls on the Palestinian Authority to do everything in its powers to prevent such unacceptable and unjustified act of violence, and urges the PA and the Israeli Government to pursue their dialogue and common efforts towards peace as set out in the Road Map.

Aug 19: “UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the suicide bombing today by a Palestinian militant group in Jerusalem, which killed 20 Israelis and injured dozens more. He extends his sincere condolences to the families of the victims. Today has been a tragic day for the United Nations family as well, and we share the grief felt for all victims.

The Secretary-General has made clear repeatedly that terrorist attacks are totally reprehensible. He urges Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas to take decisive action to arrest the instigators of this attack and prevent such attacks from happening again. The Secretary-General calls on the Government of Israel to act with restraint in the face of this provocation, and not contribute to a renewed cycle of violence and revenge. The Secretary-General reaffirms his belief that security for both Israelis and Palestinians can best be achieved by the political process of conflict resolution called for in the ‘Road Map.’”

Source: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.