Thursday, September 23, 2004

Heroes - theirs and ours

According to police and eyewitness accounts, the female bomber, her face nearly completely covered in a headscarf, was approaching the heavily-guarded bus stop at Jerusalem's northern French Hill intersection just before 3:40 p.m. when she was stopped by one of the two border policemen stationed at the adjacent hitchhiking station who was suspicious of her. When the security officer asked to see her identity papers, and to open her bag for inspection, the bomber began arguing with him, and then almost immediately set off the three to five kilograms of shrapnel-packed explosives she was wearing on her back.

"The operation of the border police officers today in Jerusalem prevented a very big attack at the bus stop," Jerusalem police chief Ilan Franco said at the scene of the explosion.

The late-afternoon blast completely gutted the hitchhiking station, sending chunks of human flesh flying into the city's main northern thoroughfare, and spraying shards of glass onto the busy road that leads out of Jerusalem.

Our heroes: The two border policemen killed in the blast, Corporal Mamoya Tahio, 20 from Rehovot and Corporal Menashe Komemi, 19, of Moshav Aminadav on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Their "heroine": The suicide terrorist, 18-year-old Zainab Abu Salem from the Askar refugee camp near Nablus (Shechem), sent by the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, a branch of Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction.

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