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Tuesday, 22 January, 2002, 18:33 GMT
Witnesses tell of panic in Jerusalem
Medical teams in Jaffa Street shortly after the shooting
Rescuers and medics jammed Jaffa Street
Witnesses of the Jerusalem shooting have told of the moments when a man began spraying a busy street in the heart of the city's main shopping area with automatic gunfire.

Bus driver Haim Salah said he stepped on the accelerator of his vehicle when he heard the shots.


I saw hate in his eyes

Israeli policeman
"I was driving and stopped the bus to pick up passenger... I didn't have time to close the door when I heard volleys of gunshots from an automatic weapon directed at the bus," Mr Salah told Israel's army radio.

"I bent over, stepped on the gas as I drove and told everyone to duck. It's a miracle no one on the bus was killed."

Mr Salah said several passengers were wounded, leaving pools of blood in the bus.

Customers at a pharmacy hid when the shooting began.

"He fired inside the store or next to it," the owner said.

"People ran into the shop and hid in the storage closet. That storage closet saved my life."

Conflicting reports

Accounts of how the incident began vary.

Akiva Harari said the gunman, wearing a heavy coat, emerged from a car park into the bustle of Jaffa Street.

"I saw him shoot two women and they fell," added the 21-year-old.

But another witness told Israel's army radio: "I was inside a shop... and he got out of a taxi right near the entrance and began to shoot."

Hanan Ben-Naim, the police officer who shot the gunman dead after a chase, told Reuters news agency: "He was shooting at me and I was shooting at him. I could see his eyes.

"He didn't say anything. He was young... I saw hate in his eyes - calm, but full of hate."

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Janet Barrie in Jerusalem
"This is not Hamas as we had been expecting"
See also:

22 Jan 02 | Middle East
Militant released after Israeli raid
21 Jan 02 | Middle East
Mid-East religions condemn bloodshed
02 Dec 01 | Middle East
Death toll climbs in Jerusalem attacks
20 Jan 02 | Middle East
Thousands demand Arafat's release
03 Dec 01 | profiles
Who are Hamas?
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