Bomb Blast Marks Speech at Jerusalem Day Dinner

A well-dressed, predominately Orthodox Jewish crowd was intently listening Wednesday evening to Dr. Jeane Kirkpatrick defend the right of Jews to rule over a united Jerusalem when suddenly a loud noise shook the room.

The former ambassador to the United Nations paused briefly as her audience looked up startled, but then coolly continued her speech.

The event at the New York Hilton hotel was the annual Jerusalem Day dinner for the Jerusalem Reclamation Project, a group dedicated to expanding the Jewish presence in the Old City of Jerusalem by purchasing property in the city’s Moslem quarter and settling Jewish families there.

The crowd later found out the noise was a bomb exploding in an empty ballroom directly below the event. It was the second blast to take place within the week in New York at the site of a gathering of Orthodox Jews.

Police believe the explosion of the cardboard cylinder filled with M-80 firecrackers and BB shots could be linked to the detonation of a similar device Sunday at the New York Sheraton, where Vice President Dan Quayle was to address the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations.

Though the Jerusalem Day dinner proceeded calmly after the explosion Wednesday night, police immediately swept the hotel for more devices, and discovered next to an escalator another 8-inch by 2-inch cylinder wrapped in duct tape filled with BB shots and metal washers.

The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the bombers.

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