United Press International
A powerful bomb exploded beside a bullet-proof USA Embassy car Wednesday, killing three people and wounding one, shortly after it entered the Gaza Strip.
An embassy spokesman in Tel Aviv confirmed an explosion and casualties but did not confirm deaths. The Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed three deaths. According to one Israeli source the dead were guards accompanying the convoy. The bodies were taken to the Karni Crossing and transferred to Israel.
The wounded man, according to one source a diplomat, was rushed to a local Gazan hospital and then taken in an Israel air force helicopter to the Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheba. A hospital spokeswoman said he was suffering from broken limbs. He was in stable condition.
Palestinian medical sources said four Americans, members of the CIA were killed in the explosion, and one was wounded. USA sources said the convoy was on a routine embassy assignment. According to Israel Radio its occupants were heading to Gaza to interview Palestinians who wanted to go to the USA for lectures. USA envoy John Wolf was not in the convoy, embassy officials said. Wolf is abroad, an embassy source said.
The explosion occurred near the village of Beit Hanoon. Witnesses said they saw two cars right after the explosion occurred turning into pieces, flying in the air, along with dust, flames and black smoke. Passengers in a third car apparently escaped injury and helped identify the dead.
The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv e-mailed messages to American citizens saying the USA Government recommends all it’s citizens leave the area as expeditiously as possible, while avoiding the area of the attack.
Islamic resistance movement Hamas leader in the West Bank Adnan Asfour denied his movement was involved in the attack. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat condemned the blast.