- The Washington Times - Friday, August 9, 2002

JERUSALEM Two Israeli Arab women who got off a bus after being warned by a suicide bomber that "something horrible" was about to happen hailed a taxi and followed the doomed bus for 15 minutes, but kept quiet during the ride, the taxi driver said yesterday.

As new details emerged, there was growing disbelief and outrage that the two did not call police between the time they got off the bus and the explosion. Nine passengers and bystanders were killed and scores wounded in Sunday's blast.

"They knew and said nothing," read a front-page headline in the Yediot Ahronot newspaper yesterday above pictures of the two women. "Why didn't they warn my son?" read the lead headline in the Maariv daily, quoting the father of one victim.

The taxi driver, Hisham Ghanem, told Israel Radio he could not understand why the two didn't tell him what was about to happen as he drove behind the bus, alongside it and then stopped in front of it just before it blew up.

Mr. Ghanem said the only indication that one of the women, Yusra Bakhri, 19, was afraid was when the taxi stopped close to the bus to pick up passengers getting off it and she said "My God."

The taxi had stopped in front of the bus when the explosives went off, Mr. Ghanem said. Miss Bakhri and the other woman, Samia Asadi, also 19, yelled "The bus!" and clamored hysterically to get out of the taxi, Mr. Ghanem said.

The taxi driver ran to help treat wounded bus passengers. When he returned, the two women were gone. The two later turned themselves in to police.

Miss Bakhri was charged Wednesday with failure to prevent a crime. Miss Asadi will apparently not be charged, because she did not talk to the bomber and it was not clear when Miss Bakhri told her what he said.


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