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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Reacts to Bombing

Aired October 15, 2003 - 10:21   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Want to share with you some video we're just getting in to us here at CNN. The U.S. ambassador to Israel, Dan Kurtzer, held a news conference just moments ago concerning the explosion taking place earlier today in Gaza City that took the lives of three Americans. Let's listen to the ambassador.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN KURTZER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL: Good afternoon.

This morning at about 10:15, a United States Embassy vehicle carrying four U.S. security personnel was attacked by an explosive charge in Gaza a few miles from the Erez checkpoint.

Two U.S. personnel were killed immediately. The two others were taken by Palestinian ambulances to hospitals in Gaza City. One individual died en route to the hospital. And the fourth individual was treated at Shifa Hospital and subsequently transferred to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba, where he is in stable condition.

The security personnel who were attacked were part of a convoy of armored vehicles, including American diplomats with official business to conduct in Gaza for the American Embassy. Among their planned activities were interviews of Palestinian academics who have applied for Fulbright scholarships to study or teach in the United States.

Because we have not yet completed notification of families and have not yet secured privacy waivers, I cannot yet identify those who were killed, to whose families we send our deepest condolences, or the American who remains hospitalized, for whose complete recovery we pray.

The four security personnel were contract employees of the United States Embassy to provide protective security for American officials operating in Gaza and the West Bank. They have always conducted themselves with great valor and professional dedication.

We have received many calls of condolence and offers of assistance, including from Prime Minister Sharon, Foreign Minister Shalom and Palestinian Prime Minister Qureia. I want to thank them and everyone else who called for their expressions of condolence and for the assistance that Israeli and Palestinian officials have rendered to us.

We are shocked by this latest terrorist outrage. The United States government will investigate fully and work with the relevant authorities to bring to justice those responsible for this senseless and brutal attack.

The FBI is sending a team of experts who will focus on evidence- gathering and explosives. This morning the embassy also issued a circular notice to the American community advising citizens not to remain in Gaza.

The United States will also continue assisting the parties as they seek ways to stop the terror and to achieve peace. This will ultimately be the most enduring response to murderers and terrorists.

I'll take a few questions now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAGAN: All right. That was Dan Kurtzer, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, giving comments today in Tel Aviv following the explosion and the death of three Americans in Gaza City. More pictures and information about that situation straight ahead.

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