- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 1, 2002

JERUSALEM A bomb hidden in a bag ripped through a busy cafeteria at Hebrew University yesterday, killing seven persons, including three Americans, in an attack that shattered the peace in one of the few places where young Jews and Arabs still mixed freely.
More than 80 people were wounded in the bombing, the second in Jerusalem in two days.
Media reports said two of the dead were Israelis and that the others were foreign nationals. The injured included Jews and Arabs, but no overall breakdown was available.
Three Americans were killed in the blast, and four were injured, State Department spokeswoman Lynn Cassel said in Washington, and their names were withheld pending notification of their families.
"Two women and one man, American citizens, have been confirmed dead as a result of the bombing at the university today," a State Department official said.
One was identified by a family spokesman as Janis Ruth Coulter, 36, an assistant director of graduate studies based at Hebrew University's New York office.
She had been escorting American students to Israel when the attack occurred, said Harry King.
"Janis Ruth was a wonderful, loving, caring person," Mr. King said from Boston, where the Coulters live. "Her faith, to which she converted, was at the core of her being."
The Islamic group Hamas said the bombing was in retaliation for the Israeli attack on an apartment building in Gaza City last week that killed one of its leaders and 14 civilians, including nine children.
The Israeli Security Cabinet met and vowed to retaliate within hours, Israeli Radio reported.
The explosion at Hebrew University occurred at about 1:30 p.m., blowing out glass windows and overturning tables at the Frank Sinatra International Student Center.
The bomb was smuggled past security guards at the entrances to the Mount Scopus campus and left in a bag in the center of the cafeteria, a police spokesman said.
Those injured included tourists and students from Britain, Japan, Turkey and South Korea.
The blast peeled away a portion of the cafeteria's plaster wall to expose the cinder building block. Ceiling tiles caked with dried blood lay on the floor while an overhead aluminum ventilation shaft dangled.
Alastair Goldrein, a 19-year-old from Liverpool, England, studying Hebrew for the summer, said he was just a few feet from the cafeteria when the blast shook the entire foundation of the concrete building.
"People were wandering around with gashes to their heads not knowing where they were," Mr. Goldrein said.
Hamas, which has carried out the largest number of Palestinian bombings, took responsibility for the bombing during a rally in Gaza City that drew about 3,000 supporters into the streets after evening prayers in the mosques.
Hamas needed only eight days to make good on its promise to retaliate for the F-16 strike on a Gaza City neighborhood that killed leader Sheik Salah Shehadeh and 14 civilians.
It was the second bombing in Jerusalem in two days, further exposing Israel's vulnerability as it holds Palestinian West Bank cities under curfew.
"We have done much less than what ought to be done," said Public Security Minister Uzi Landau, a hawk in the Cabinet who declined to say exactly how Israel should respond.
President Bush condemned the attack, telling reporters that it was perpetrated by "killers who hate the thought of peace."
Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority also condemned the strike, blaming Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
"This is the price that innocent civilians have to pay for irresponsible decisions made by their prime minister," said Palestinian spokesman Samir Rantissi.
Hebrew University is one of Israel's oldest and most revered institutions of higher learning.
It is also among the few places in the country where Arabs and Jews interact daily, studying together in an otherwise self-segregated country.
Ahmed Suleiman, a 23-year old political science major from an Israeli Arab village near the northern coastal city of Acre, said the attack would make life more uncomfortable for Arab students.
"It's going to be a more strict security process, especially for people with an Arab appearance," he said. "They see us as a fifth column."
The university said 23,000 students attend the school, about 5,000 of them Arabs and 1,500 foreigners.

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