Bomb Explosion Injures 51 People in the Tel Aviv Open Air Market

Fifty-one people were injured, four of them critically, when a bomb exploded this morning in the crowded open air Carmel market in the center of the city. Shortly afterwards Israeli war planes staged a reprisal raid against a Palestinian terrorist base in south Lebanon. (See separate story.)

My wife and I were in the market when the explosion occurred. The narrow streets were jammed with people shopping for the weekend at the fresh fruits and vegetable stalls. We were at the entrance of the market off Allenby Street when the blast occurred at 11:40 a.m., just about 100 yards from where we were standing. We could feel it, but even more, we saw it in the terrified eyes of women and children.

As we came closer we saw scattered shopping bags, spilling peaches, apples, carrots, beans, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, plums and lemons; some of the fruits and vegetables were stained with blood. Broken fruit cartons and boxes were spread all around. Parts of the destroyed stands were tossed all over the market.

POLICE PREVENT VIOLENCE

The police and ambulances began arriving at the scene. The people in the market were calm at first, helping evacuate the casualties, retrieving the belongings of the injured and aiding the police in rounding up Arabs in the area. But then some began shouting “kill them” at the suspects and a crowd began converging on the police van where the Arabs were being held. However, the police prevented any incidents, although they had to cordon off the area to keep the crowd away.

The market was closed temporarily while sappers made sure there were no other bombs in the area. Mayor Shlomo Lahat, who arrived at the scene shortly after the blast, expressed regret over the incident but said life must go on. The market was reopened in two hours. Many people, however, abandoned their shopping.

Twenty-five of the injured were taken for treatment to the nearby Hadassah Hospital. The hospital was mobilized for emergency treatment and operations and the staff was re-enforced by volunteers. Fourteen other injured were treated at Ichilov Hospital while others were treated at a first aid field station set up near the market by Magen David Adom.

Interior Minister Yosef Burg, who visited the market, said this “barbarous attack” was yet another act in the series which increases hatred and does not bring understanding nearer. Police Chief Chaim Tabori said he believed the bomb, which was placed under a fruit stall, was home made. The incident today was similar to a bomb blast on June 28, also a Thursday, in Jerusalem’s crowded Mahane Yehuda market, in which two were killed and 47 injured.

U.S. CONDEMNS BOMBING

(In Washington the State Department sharply condemned the bombing in Tel Aviv. Spokesman Hodding Carter, reading a statement, said: “The bombing in Tel Aviv today in which a large number of persons were killed and injured is a savage and brutal act. We condemn it, we condemn the perpetrators. This crime must revolt decent persons everywhere. Nothing can justify such terrorism. We extend our sympathy to the many innocent victims and to the State of Israel.”)

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