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Torn clothes, smashed vegetables and bodies at bomb site

July 30, 1997

JERUSALEM (AP) _ Soot-covered bodies lay on the ground, their blood mixing with smashed watermelons, torn clothes and shredded newspaper on the gray asphalt of Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda open market.

Two explosions shattered today’s midday routine of buying and bustle and turned the alley, packed with shoppers and colorful vendors’ stands, into a scene of destruction and death.

``People flew in the air without legs, without arms, without clothes,″ said Sarah Yamin, 43, her turquoise makeup streaking her cheeks. Running her hand through her blond hair, she rushed to a date seller and asked to use his phone to call home.

Police said at least 14 people, including the two suicide bombers, were killed. The area was heavily damaged, with the green awning covering part of the alley torn apart. Vegetable stands and displays of colorful clothes were overturned, their wares shredded and strewn about.

Half of one body lay covered by an orange sheet between a stand of dates and a candy display, a pair of brown shoes next to it. Nearby, the window of a cheese shop was shattered, with fragments of glass studding the cheeses on display.

Rescue teams trying to evacuate the scores of wounded mixed with survivors _ some in shock, others hysterical _ even as more people streamed in, looking for relatives and friends.

One woman, wearing a long blue dress and the knitted head scarf of religious Jewish women, shouted and pushed to get through, saying she thought her family had been near the site of the explosions. A soldier joined her in efforts to get past rescue workers.

Several border policemen broke down in tears, even as their colleagues rounded up Arab men for questioning and took them away, their hands behind their backs.

Adam Blitz, 14, of Encino, Calif., was in the market with his grandparents when the bombs exploded.

``I heard the boom and thought it was a sonic boom,″ he told The Associated Press. ``Then I heard another boom and felt the heat and heard people yelling, so I started running and looking for my grandmother and friends.″

Blitz said he picked up a 10-year-old friend who also had been injured and ran for help. His cousin, Yoni Howard of Tarzana, Calif., was injured in the thigh by a shard of window glass.

``We were very lucky,″ said his grandmother, Alice Howard, of Encino, still wearing a white shirt stained with blood.

``I am fearful about the future of Israel.″

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