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Wednesday, October 15, 2003

CHUTZPAH: Palestinians attack American Convoy in Gaza

Three Americans killed, one wounded
Associated Press reports this morning that a massive explosion ripped through a U.S. diplomatic vehicle, killing at least three Americans, Palestinian officials said. The vehicle was part of a U.S. convoy driving near the Palestinian town of Beit Hanoun, just south of the Erez crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Israeli military carry out of a helicopter a wounded U.S Embassy security bodyguard after he was evacuated from the Erez crossing north of the Gaza Strip at the Soroka hospital in the southern Israeli town of Beersheba Wednesday Oct. 15, 2003. (AP Photo/Yehuda Lahiani)

There were conflicting reports about the cause of the explosion. Palestinian security officials initially said a suicide bomber jumped in front of the vehicle, while witnesses said a roadside bomb or land mine apparently went off under the car.

Mohammed Radwan, a Palestinian taxi driver, said he was at a nearby gas station when the blast went off. "I was about to fill up my car with gas when I saw the American convoy passing," Radwan said. "There was a Palestinian police car in front and then three big (U.S.) cars. When the third one passed, an explosion went off. The first two cars drove quickly and stopped far form the explosion. Palestinian security people jumped out of the car and rushed to the car that had blown up. When I tried to approach them, they shouted at me to leave. I saw two people covered with blood lying next to the car."

Palestinian policemen search a vehicle in a bomb blast in the Gaza Strip October 15, 2003. Photo by Suhaib Salem/Reuters

Palestinian officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said three Americans were killed and one was wounded. U.S. diplomatic sources said the people in the targeted car apparently were security guards for the U.S. diplomats traveling in the other vehicles.

The body of one of the Americans was taken to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

The device went off near a gas station on Gaza's main north-south road. The explosion tore the van in half and left the wreckage twisted with the tires up in the air. The pavement was stained with blood and littered with bits of flesh.

An AP reporter saw a gray wire with an on-off switch leading from the scene of the attack to a small concrete room at the side of the road.

Israeli reports initially said John Wolf, the head of a U.S. peace monitoring team, was in the convoy. However, U.S. officials later said Wolf was not in the region.
I guess the Palestinians didn't appreciate the American veto of a UN security council resolution yesterday. The resolution condemned Israel for building a security fence to keep suicide bombers out. See below.