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Wednesday, 31 July, 2002, 19:03 GMT 20:03 UK
Eyewitness: Campus bomb blast
Orthodox Jew medic mops blood from the ground
The university was a place where Jews and Arabs could mix

Alastair Goldrein had just finished his Hebrew lesson for the day and decided to head to the Frank Sinatra cafe, one of the most popular student hang-outs on campus, to relax with friends.

He was making his way up the white Jerusalem-stone boulevard towards the restaurant complex, when, he says, "the earth thundered".


I carried a body out and looked at her face. She was unmistakably an Arab girl. She had taken a hammering and it was terrible to look at

"At first I wasn't sure what was going on, but then I realised what had happened. I just thought, 'Why?'," he told BBC News Online.

Pandemonium broke out and Alastair ran towards the cafe to see what he could do.

"I just raced into the cafe and started ferrying bodies out," he said.

"It was a scene of chaos, a scene of suffering - breathtakingly horrible.

"I gave first aid as much as I could, mouth-to-mouth - people were doing whatever they could," he said.

The Hebrew University caters for students from around the world and the cafe was packed with Arabs and foreign students, as well as Israelis, at the time of the blast.

Injured woman is led away
Fearing another blast, people were cleared from the area

"I carried a body out and looked at her face," said Alastair.

"She was unmistakably an Arab girl," he said.

"She had taken a hammering and it was terrible to look at."

Emergency services began pouring into the campus within 15 minutes of the explosion.

Situated on a remote plateau, the cafe is inaccessible to ambulances, and rescuers had to run part of the way to the scene.

There was fear that there might be a second bomb to try to target those involved in the rescue effort and people fled or were cleared away from the area.

Alastair, from Crosby, England, has been studying at the University's Rothberg School for Overseas Students for a month.

Bombed cafeteria
'Scene of chaos': the cafe after the blast

He told News Online security was normally very tight on the campus and his bag was checked thoroughly when he moves from one part of the university to another.

"How someone managed to get a bag with a bomb in there, I don't know," he said.

There was a sense of disbelief, he said, that someone had managed to breach security and wreak carnage at such a peaceful and harmonious place of learning, untouched by nearly two years of violence.

"Whoever did this has killed students who were no threat to anyone," said Alastair.

"There is total shock here that this has happened.

"No-one was anticipating this - people don't expect universities to get blown up."


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31 Jul 02 | Middle East
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