Explosion in Downtown Jerusalem Injures 8 Israelis, Foreign Tourists

Eight Israelis and foreign tourists suffered slight injuries today when a booby-trapped car exploded outside the Hotel Eyal in downtown Jerusalem, severely damaging the front of the hotel and destroying the car. The blast occurred at 6:45 a.m. local time as a group of tourists was assembling in front of the hotel to begin a day of sight-seeing. Police arrested 15 suspects but released 13. Two were held for further questioning.

Police said none of the victims sustained serious injuries because there were no people close to the car at the time of the explosion. One of the injured, Michael Zweig, 73, of Jerusalem, was injured last spring when a booby-trapped refrigerator exploded on a sidewalk in Zion Square killing 15 persons. He had been released from the hospital only a few days ago. The Zion Square explosion occurred only a few yards from the scene of this morning’s blast outside the relatively new hotel where about 150 tourists from Germany were staying.

Other injured persons were identified by police as Marian Rotman, 25, and Antoinette Mester, 23, from Switzerland; Dr. Freda Lurie, 81, Mazan Vaaknin, 50, Shlomo Swisa and Michael Goral, 25, all of Jerusalem; and Abdelmahmud Hamdan Alkruk, 27, of Hebron. The booby-trapped car was identified as a French-made Peugot 504, apparently stolen from its owners, a Tel Aviv computer company. The blast, which shattered windows blocks from the scene, was the first successful terrorist act of sabotage in Jerusalem since the fatal Zion Square explosion.

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