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Wednesday, 5 June, 2002, 09:55 GMT 10:55 UK
Eyewitness: 'Everything was fire'
Bus
The bus was reduced to scrap
The bus had left Tel Aviv bound for the town of Tiberias at 0550 local time (0250GMT) - most of its passengers were soldiers returning to their bases.

About 90 minutes later, when it was near the Meggido junction, the bus was reduced to scrap after a car packed with explosives was detonated next to it.


I saw a female soldier who couldn't move... then a soldier picked her up and as she turned around we saw that her face was completely bloody

Andre, Israeli soldier
"I saw a vehicle just in front of us. Then I heard the explosion and everything was fire and smoke," soldier Anton Borodnik said speaking in hospital.

"I kicked the door open with another soldier. I pulled my girlfriend off and then went back and pulled my mother off and then went back and pulled my aunt off."

Another soldier, Sharon Levinger, who was sitting in the front of the bus said: "I saw a car passing and then there was an explosion. The bus turned over at least twice."

Others were not so lucky - at least 16 passengers were killed in the blast.

Trapped alive

Andre, a soldier guarding the Megiddo Prison (in what was once the biblical city of Armageddon) saw the bus fly through the air.

"People were escaping from it like ants," he told Israeli Army Radio.


We couldn't get on to the bus

Ogen Drori, paramedic

"I saw a female soldier who was sitting on the edge of the road and couldn't move.

"Everyone was screaming at her to get away from the bus... then a soldier picked her up and as she turned around we saw that her face was completely bloody and she couldn't see and that's why she hadn't moved."

Witnesses described scenes of carnage at the junction, with passengers trapped alive in the burning bus.

A man and woman burned to death as they embraced, a local radio reporter said.

Survivor

The bus was still burning an hour after the explosion, hampering efforts to rescue the wounded.


I saw soldiers thrown around the front of the bus

Mickey Harel, bus driver

"We couldn't get onto the bus," said Ogen Drori, a paramedic who was in a nearby car when the blast ripped through the bus.

"The explosion was huge. The people were thrown off the bus by the force of the explosion."

Driver Mickey Harel said he "felt the bus leap and turn over".

"I saw soldiers thrown around the front of the bus," said Mr Harel after surviving what he said was the fourth attack in recent months.

Megiddo junction has seen a number of terror attacks in the past. Last month a suicide bomber tried to blow himself up at the junction, but his bomb only partially exploded and no one was injured.


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05 Jun 02 | Middle East
04 Jun 02 | Middle East
20 May 02 | Middle East
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