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 Sunday, 5 January, 2003, 21:24 GMT
Carnage on Tel Aviv streets
Israeli investigators at the scene of the double bombing
The blasts devastated the surrounding area
The double suicide bomb in Tel Aviv - which has left more than 20 people dead, including the two bombers - happened in rush hour, when many were heading home after work.

I have been to a lot of these scenes but this is one of the bloodiest I have come upon

Israeli funeral service worker
It is thought the two bombers were standing only 200 metres apart by the old bus station in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv when, around 1830 local time (1630 GMT) one unleashed the first powerful blast, using more than 10 kilos of explosives.

BBC correspondent Orla Guerin said that in the ensuing carnage, panicked people rushed away from the first blast, and possibly straight into the second, detonated moments later.

One bomb went off near a fast food restaurant called McChina, overturning wooden picnic tables outside and showering glass onto the pavement, the Associated Press news agency reported.

'Many casualties'

Local barber Yitzhak Teva was still at work when the first bomber set off his device.

Rescue workers and bystanders attend to an injured woman
Rescue workers rushed to attend the wounded

"Half the wall fell on me and I was covered in broken glass," he said.

"I shut the shop and then there was the next explosion."

Eyewitness Alon Oz described the immense power of the bombs, which damaged buildings and even injured people inside houses and shops.

"I heard the explosion," he told Israeli Army radio.

"I felt the shockwave. I realised there would be many casualties. We looked for people who were breathing. I called over to them.

"I counted quite a few seriously wounded. People were lying there."

Gruesome scene

One man told Israeli television that the carnage was horrific, with people sprawled on the streets, some still in shock as they tended to their wounds, others obviously dead.

"I saw a man without a leg. I saw horrible things, people without legs, without arms. I saw fingers," he said.

Ambulance workers raced to the scene to find the gruesome sight of pieces of flesh on the ground, interspersed with sharp pieces of metal, nuts, bolts and ball bearings which had been packed around the bombs.

Israeli police spokesman Gil Kleiman said the attack was clearly planned to cause the maximum amount of casualties.

"From the extent of the damage on the scene...they were very strong explosive devices. In each case metal fragments were added to the explosives to increase the amount of death," he told Reuters news agency.

Later, as the last of the casualties were rushed away in ambulances, police remained with bomb-sniffer dogs, searching the blood-streaked ground.

Funeral service workers, who perform the grim task of finding and conserving body parts for burial, were left to sift through the detritus which remained, working into the night with flashlights and rubber gloves.

"I have been to a lot of these scenes but this is one of the bloodiest I have come upon," one said.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Louise Bevan
"Police at the scene believe the bombs were a massive 10 kilos each"
  Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat
"The Palestinian Authority has nothing to do with these attacks"
  Israeli government spokesman Raanan Gissin
"The relative calm we've had was a deceptive one"

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05 Jan 03 | Middle East
21 Nov 02 | Middle East
18 Jul 02 | Middle East
18 Jul 02 | Middle East
21 Nov 02 | Middle East
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