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Tuesday, 18 June, 2002, 13:27 GMT 14:27 UK
Child heroes of bus bomb rescue
bus bomb
Militant Islamic group, Hamas, admitted the attack
Israeli schoolchildren have told how they pulled the injured from the smoking wreckage of the bus hit by a suicide bomber on Tuesday.

They were on another bus and saw the explosion which killed at least 19 and injured more than 40 in Jerusalem.


It's awful. It's impossible to imagine

Shmuel Calfon
school boy, 15
One 15-year-old student of nearby Ort Spanyan school - his satchel still bloodstained - told his teacher of how he went to the rescue of a little girl as others scrambled through the wreckage to help victims.

Seema Atar, a guidance counsellor at the school, told the BBC World Service's Newshour: "They were on the other bus and heard the bombing.

"They helped get the victims of the bus before the rescuers came.

"They were trying to deal with the wreckage, but it was very hard for them."

Two students from Ort Spanyan were injured - one seriously - in the blast.

Scene horror

Many of the school's 600 pupils come from the nearby settlement of Gilo - which Israelis view as a suburb of Jerusalem - and travel on the No. 32 bus route which was hit.

bus
Many of those on board the bus were children on their way to school

But most were already in school when the blast occurred.

Other pupils told Ms Atar of the horror at the scene and have vowed never to use public transport again.

The school was now looking at arranging its own transport, said Ms Atar.

The explosion was so strong that it lifted the bus off the ground.

Frantic parents

Most of the pupils knew immediately what had happened.

Shouting "bombing, bombing", they rushed to the school gates.

Shmuel Calfon, 15, was in the school synagogue when he heard the blast.

"Everyone was on the (cell) phones at once" to call home and assure their parents they were safe, he told AFP news agency.

"It's awful. It's impossible to imagine."

In school secretary Dina Atzmon's office, the phone was constantly ringing, with parents frantically seeking reassurance that their children were safe.

Teacher Eliahu Tsur fielded the calls, while Ms Atzmon checked names from the school roll.

"There's a lot of hysteria," he said.

"We're trying to calm the parents and stay calm ourselves."


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18 Jun 02 | Middle East
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