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What happens to the bus after a Palestinian suicide bombing?
The British Times Online (www.timesonline.co.uk) has published an article that explains what happens to the Israeli buses that are taken out of service after a Palestinian suicide bombing.
This scrapyard, a few miles from the Lebanese border, is where the buses are dumped after their 15 minutes of infamy, when the dead have been pulled from the wreckage and the television cameras have departed. It is a startling reminder of how Egged, Israel’s largest public transport operator, is on the front line in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
I copy the full article below.
Debris of bombed buses heighten Israeli fears
The latest arrival is the charred remains of bus No 361, its roof torn off, in which nine people were murdered by a suicide bomber at Meron Junction, near Safed, on August 4. Beside it, the green, blue and pink livery already fading in the sun, is bus No 960, on which eight Israelis died near Haifa on April 10.
Near by is the burnt skeleton of the coach on which 17 people died at Megiddo on June 5, its twisted chassis seemingly having endured the fires of Armageddon itself.
One hundred people have died in 14 suicide bomb and numerous shooting attacks on the co-operative’s buses since the intifada began, but, astonishingly, only one driver.
Wandering among the hulks is Tamir Shiler, 36, who drives buses in the afternoon and spends mornings as a mechanic at the Egged garage in front of the yard. Each day he is confronted by this evidence of just how perilously he earns his £15,000 a year plus shares.
“It’s like I am magnetised to come here,” he says. “Every day I come for ten minutes to look, trying to visualise what happened to the people inside these buses. I don’t know why. Because I care, maybe. I knew one of the girls who died at Meron Junction; a lovely youngster who helped me to run Egged’s summer camps for children: very special, very beautiful, very talented.”
Pausing, he talks about how his father and grandfather worked on the buses and how he hopes his son will have an easier and a better career. “My wife is very afraid, but what can you do? It is a job. There is no satisfaction in it, but you get paid good.”
A few minutes before he arrived, volunteers from Zaka, the ultra-religious recovery service, had spent hours searching the wreckage to find and bury every scrap of human flesh and bone as required by Jewish tradition. Sometimes there are surprises. “They found two legs under the floor,” Mr Shiler said.
Buses are targeted today for exactly the reasons that Hamas blew them up in the mid-1990s: because they are easy to hit and no company can afford to put a guard on every vehicle.
“It is nothing new, but it is successful because when you succeed with such an operation with relatively little explosives you can kill many people,” Aryeh Amit, a former Jerusalem police chief, said. “It also looks very, very frightening on television, and frightening people is what they want to do.”
Back in the scrapyard’s hangar the Meron Junction and Haifa buses lie empty. Egged is waiting for notification that police investigations are complete before stripping them for engine, suspension and electrical parts. The Megiddo coach was so gutted that nothing can be salvaged. It will be sold to Turkey for scrap.
Incredibly, despite the film of blood still covering the floor and dark granules of body matter spattered across the walls, even some of the interior fittings will be pressed back into service.
Asher Baran, the manager of the seating workshop, reckons that he can still salvage many of the seats. “Two hundred shekels (£30) to repair a chair, 1,000 shekels (£150) to buy a new set. We’ll just take the metal frame, foam, rubber and webbing out and put a new seat covering on,” he said.
Mr Shiler reflects on how even his seven-year-old son knows about the dangers of buses, but Israelis take them nonetheless. “Every time a bomb explodes on a bus, people start taking taxis, or whatever. A few days afterwards, they come back.”
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(According to digits.com)