April 10, 2002
Eight passengers on a commuter bus are killed and 14 others are wounded in a suicide bombing outside Haifa during the morning rush hour, the second in a string of Palestinian suicide attacks since Israel launched an offensive in the West Bank on March 29. The first attack killed 15 at a Haifa restaurant March 31. The Israeli offensive came in response to a wave of deadly attacks around Passover, the latest surge in the Second Intifada, which has been killing civilians across Israel since late 2000.
The 18-year-old niece of Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Yehuda Lancry, is among the bus fatalities.
Both Hamas, which was behind the March 31 attack, and Islamic Jihad claim responsibility for the Haifa bus attack, which comes the day before U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell arrives for meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on April 12 and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat on April 13. Arieh Mekel, a spokesman for the Israeli government, says the suicide attacks may be intended to disrupt Powell’s peace mission.
During a visit to troops fighting in the West Bank’s Jenin refugee camp, Sharon says Israel will continue its “war of survival.” He adds that the United States, since the Sept. 11 attacks, should understand what Israel is going through.