A powerful bomb blast wounded 12 people, two seriously, in the centre of Jerusalem on Friday (20 December).
A powerful bomb blast wounded 12 people, two seriously, in the centre of Jerusalem on Friday (20 December). The bomb exploded in Ben Yehuda Street, an avenue of cafes, shops and offices, just after lunchtime when it was crowded with people hurrying to finish shopping before the Jewish Sabbath.
One eye-witness described the explosion as "massive" and said that people were "rushing everywhere to get out of the hail of shattered glass". Police immediately cordoned off the area at the neck of Ben Yehuda Street, which is Jerusalem's equivalent of Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Circle, the scene of another guerrilla bomb attack on 12 December.
After the incident, Israeli aircraft bombed alleged Arab commando installations on the outskirts of Beirut in retaliation. The District Police Commander, Mr. Haim Tavori, said the Ben Yehuda explosion had apparently been set off accidentally by a police officer who had been called to examine a suspicious container found on a pavement.
He told reporters that the officer had found a can and paint brushes and another tin of paint outside a cafe. He returned to his car and decided to open the tin with a screwdriver. As he was opening it, it exploded.
The Sha'arei Zedek Hospital reported later that a policeman and a civilian had been badly injured. The other wounded included three children, four women and three men. Forty people were detained by the police on suspicision of being connected with the explosion.