Driver of bomber slams Eilat police
Man who drove bomber to bakery says police took too long to respond.
By JPOST.COM STAFF, AVI KRAWITZ
January 30, 2007 09:48
2 minute read.
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(photo credit: AP [file])
Yossi Voltinski, the taxi driver who drove the suicide bomber who killed three people in Eilat on Monday to the bakery where the blast occurred, told Channel 10 on Tuesday that a significant period of time had elapsed between the time he alerted the police and the time they arrived.
According to Voltinski, who said that he checked the time on his cellular phone, he contacted the police at 9:17 a.m. The police station was located some two km. from the scene of the attack, and no explanation has yet been offered as to why 16-20 minutes elapsed between the time the driver called the police and the time they approached the bakery.
The police said in response that Voltinski's report was not accurate and did not match the witnesses' stories. The police said that they had acted according to the information at their disposal and had done everything possible to prevent the bombing.
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Earlier Tuesday, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Tourism Minster Yitzhak Herzog visited the Eilat bakery where a suicide bomber killed three Israelis less than 24 hours earlier.
At the end of the visit, Peretz was quoted by Army Radio as saying that Israel would "deal with the terror infrastructure that is preparing to carry out terror attacks to harm Israeli citizens."
"This is a very serious incident, and we will deal with it decisively," Peretz said. "We will protect the citizens of Israel and its tourist centers."
Herzog declared that Eilat would continue to be Israel's biggest tourist center, noting that "incidents of this kind happen at tourist sites throughout the world."
He added, "The city is crowded with tourists, there are no cancellations, the hotels are booked up to some 50%. Eilat will continue to radiate confidence and serve as a tourist center."
Tourism officials assured prospective visitors to Eilat that the bakery attack did not pose a threat to tourists and said they remain confident of boosting tourism to the city this year.
"There have been attacks in Taba, Aqaba, Istanbul and Tel Aviv, and now it happened in Eilat, but this won't have an effect on the long-term plan for the city," Shabtai Shay, general manager of the Eilat Hotels Association, said.
"We need to manage it properly and continue to invest in the program we have embarked on."
Shay stressed the same message issued by the Tourism Ministry following the attack - that the blast took place in a residential area, away from the city's main tourist clusters.
"We have instructed all our representatives abroad to relay the message that the attack took place very far from the tourist center and that the situation is under control and secure," Nahum Itzkovich, director-general of the Tourism Ministry, said.
"There are currently thousands of tourists in Eilat, and at this stage we have not had any cancellations of traffic into or out of the city," he said.