‘There were 20 seconds of silence, then screams began’

Victims of Jerusalem terror attack recount their experiences as Mayor Nir Barkat says "awareness can reduce the number of wounded."

March 24, 2011 03:12
2 minute read.
Aftermath of terror attack near J'lem bus station

Jerusalem Terror Attack 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

He lay in the emergency room on Wednesday evening, wrapped in a cloth blanket that was stained by bright red drops of blood from his wounded leg.

But that did stop the 14-year old from smiling as he described the events of the day prior to the Jerusalem explosion.

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After long hours of study he had passed a stiff yeshiva entrance exam. At the fateful moment, he stood across from Binyanei Ha’uma on his way home, relieved that all the hard work was behind him.

Then a large blast pushed him to the ground.

Metal shards from the bomb pierced his leg. As he saw fire burst out and heard screams around him, the teen said, his first concern was for the pain in his leg.

“I didn’t understand at first that it was a terror attack, I was worried about my leg,” said the black-haired teen, whose name was withheld. He was among the at least 19 victims of the attack who had arrived at Shaare Zedek Hospital by early evening.

Dried blood caked the bottom of his bare feet as they hung at the end of the gurney, tucked into a corner of the emergency room, where a number of other terror attack victims were receiving treatment.

Reporters, nurses, doctors, social workers and politicians crowded into the small space.

As the teen calmly waited for his parents to arrive, both Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman and Interior Minister Eli Yishai, visited him, held his hand and wished him a speedy recovery.

David Somech of Jerusalem had escaped without any physical trauma. He had also been standing at the bus stop and had not noticed anything out of the ordinary, when suddenly the bomb exploded.

“There was 20 seconds of silence before the screaming began, and chaos. I started to help evacuate people and then the medics suggested that I should head to the hospital to make sure that I was all right,” Somech said.

He still wore his street clothes, jeans and a cotton sweater, as he lay on a gurney surrounded by his relatives who had raced to the hospital after hearing of the explosion.

Upstairs in another part of the hospital, Jerusalem resident Ruth Breitkopf sat next to her husband as she waited to be treated for shock.

She said that everything happened very quickly.

“I was on the bus, and just as it came to the stop, there was an explosion. Passengers fell onto the floor, but I ran out the door of the bus toward the entry way to the city,” Breitkopf said, before she was called away to meet with a doctor.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who visited the wounded both in Hadassah Ein Kerem and Shaare Zedek urged awareness, perseverance and a speedy return to normal life.

“Open your eyes,” Barkat said. He explained that he had just met, “with one of the wounded who had been in the middle of a conversation with the police when the bag exploded.

“Awareness can reduce the number of wounded,” he said.

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