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Wednesday, 31 July, 2002, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
'Beyond anything you could imagine'
A distressed student is comforted by two of her friends
Many are now wondering if anywhere is safe
The Hebrew University in Jerusalem is a bustling place of study where Jews, Arabs, and other nationalities mixed freely during both work and play.


There was a huge, huge explosion... it went quiet for a few moments and then there was wailing

Student Alastair Goldrein
However the blast at the university's cafeteria, which killed seven people, has stunned the community.

The university was crowded with students taking exams and young people from abroad on exchange programmes.

Alastair Goldrein, 19, from Liverpool, England who is currently studying at the university, spoke of a blast, then eerie silence before the full horror set in.

'Anarchy'

"I was on my way to lunch [then] there was a huge, huge explosion," he said.

An injured woman is attended to by paramedics at the scene of the blast
The blast may have been a planted bomb, not a suicide attack

"It went quiet for a few moments and then there was wailing."

"It was anarchy. I joined with a few others and tried to take bodies out [but] the wounds were just appallingly awful."

"It was beyond anything that you could ever imagine, there are holes in people's bodies."

Mr Goldrein said students of all backgrounds had studied peacefully side by side at the university.

"In this cafe, Arabs and Jews sat together and ate their lunch in harmony, in peace," he said.

"Without any of the divides you hear about so much elsewhere in the world."

Authorities fear the death toll may rise as many were so severely injured.

"There are several deaths and several seriously wounded and injured," said Israeli ambulance worker Avi Zohar.

"And as you know in such situations several... are in a critical situation."

'Panic'

One student told Israeli radio of the immediate panic after the attack.


We are a very lively campus... you can't completely make it certain that nobody can infiltrate and get a bomb in

Campus President Menachem Magidor
"There is a lot of chaos, a lot of police," he said.

"It's a mess, there's a lot of wounded."

The blast may have been caused by a bomb planted in the cafe, not a suicide attack.

"The cafeteria was pretty crowded and the blast was in the middle of the room," said student Yossi Halfon, who was sitting with friends when the blast occurred.

"I didn't see anybody suspicious."

Potential target

Campus President Menachem Magidor spoke of his sorrow that a place committed to peace and understanding had turned into a scene of bloodshed.

"We were aware that, like any public institution in Israel, it is a potential target," he said.

"We stepped up security substantially since the beginning of the intifada.

"But we are a very lively campus - about 25,000 people visit, work, study at the campus every day - so you can't completely make it certain that nobody can infiltrate and get a bomb in."

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 ON THIS STORY
Avi Zohar, Israeli Ambulance Service
"Several people are in a critical situation"

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