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Page last updated at 23:22 GMT, Thursday, 6 March 2008

Grim mood outside the seminary

By Martin Patience
BBC News, Jerusalem

Medics evacuating he wounded
Israelis are angry, but not altogether surprised
Ten ambulances sat outside the Jewish seminary, their lights flashing and their engines revving.

The vehicles were waiting for the bodies of those killed in the attack to be removed from the building.

Hundreds of onlookers gathered at the scene of the attack, located in a religious neighbourhood in West Jerusalem.

One of the people that had rushed to the Jewish seminary was Yacob Coen, 20, a Torah student.

"I wanted to help when I heard there had been an attack," he said. "I know first aid, but the police stopped me from getting too close."

MERCAZ HARAV SEMINARY
Founded in 1924 by influential Rabbi Avraham Hacohen Kook
Some 500 students enrolled in Talmudic study
Students mainly high-school age and young adults
Graduates serve as rabbis and rabbinical judges in Israel and Jewish settlements
School has played a major role in ideology and theology of Israeli religious settlement movement
Key figures linked to the school were strongly opposed to Israeli pull-out from Gaza

Some gathered at the scene out of curiosity, but others came to check on friends and family who they believed were in the building at the time of the attack.

"My friend's brother is in there," said Reut Nissim, 24, a student who also works part-time in a clothes shop in the area.

"I don't know if he's okay, but I guess we'll find out tomorrow."

Composed

Despite receiving no news, Ms Nissim appeared composed.

"We're used to this in Israel," she said.

"There is no one in this country that has not been affected by terror. It happens every day."

Her friend, Ortal Hadad, 23, said that the Israeli government needed to take a tougher line against the Palestinians, who she referred to as Arabs.


I understand that after the attacks in Gaza they would have a lot of motivation to carry out an attack like this

Azriel Weinstein
Former seminary student

"We're too soft on the Arabs," said the student. "When we attack them the whole world gets angry. But when they kill us, everyone seems to think it's okay."

The religious students from the seminary who had survived the attack had gathered behind the building.

Some cried, while others were deep in prayer.

In front of the building, the crowd - mainly religious students dressed in black jackets and hats - were held back by red and white police ticker tape.

Not surprised

A few of the crowd chanted "Death to Arabs" and "Revenge, Revenge".

One teenager carried the blue and white Israeli flag through the onlookers.

Others crowded around satellite dish vans to watch the TV monitors showing the latest Israeli news reports.

Azriel Weinstein, a 39-year-old former student at the seminary, had been close by when he heard about the attack on the religious centre.

He said he was not altogether surprised by the attack.

"I understand that after the attacks in Gaza they would have a lot of motivation to carry out an attack like this," said Mr Weinstein.

"And I think that might be more attacks like this in the next few days and weeks."



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