Thursday, March 6, 2008

Six students hurt, three in very serious condition

Last update - 22:12 06/03/2008

By Jonathan Lis, Yair Ettinger and Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondents

At least seven students were killed and six others were wounded Thursday evening when terrorists infiltrated the Merkaz Harav yeshiva in the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood in Jerusalem, police said.

Three of the injured were listed as being in very serious condition and taken to Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Karem, while the other four were taken to Sha'arei Tzedek Medical Center in the capital. MDA declared the incident a "multiple casualty event."

At least one terrorist infiltrated the yeshiva, possibly armed with an explosive belt, and began firing in every direction.

Yitzhak Danon, a student at the yeshiva, told Channel 2 television that one terrorist entered the seminary's library, and fired for several minutes at students with a Kalashnikov assault rifle.

Danon said he shot the terrorist twice in the head.

Michael, another student who only gave his first name, said he saw a terrorist enter the complex, and fire for some 10 minutes. "He fired 500-600 bullets," he said, adding that most of those hurt were high school age.

A large number of security and emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene, with some 50 ambulances summoned.

Police and Israel Defense Forces troops were searching the complex in order to determine whether one of the terrorists was still holed up inside the yeshiva, and were also going house to house in the immediate area in search of third terrorist who may have fled.

Police are having a difficult time keeping crowds of onlookers away from the scene, despite concerns there are still explosive belts at the scene that have yet to be neutralized.

Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski told Channel 2 television, "It's very sad tonight in Jerusalem - many people were killed in the heart of Jerusalem."

"There was a lot of gunfire and hysteria," a woman who lives across the street from the school told the radio. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

In Gaza, Hamas welcomed the terrorist attack. "We bless the [Jerusalem] operation. It will not be the last," Hamas said in a statement.

In Gaza City, residents went out into the streets and fired rifles in
celebration in the air after hearing news of the attack on the yeshiva.

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