Sophont
Thursday, February 05, 2004
 
Israel Puts Graphic Suicide Bombing Video on Web
(washingtonpost.com): "The video footage on the government Web site, www.mfa.gov.il, was taken by Ilan Sztulman, 45, who heads visual productions for the ministry of foreign affairs. He said he arrived at the scene of the Thursday attack only minutes after the blast and the opening shots of the video show the jerky movements of a cameraman running toward the bus amidst a crowd of rescue workers.

'I get to the zone much faster than any other photographers because I have special permission to go in,' said Sztulman. 'Most of the journalists cannot go in until the bomb officers declare the area is bomb-free.'

At Thursday's bombing, most journalists were kept more than 30 yards from the bus in the first minutes after the explosion. Many of the body parts video-taped by Sztulman had been collected by rescue workers by the time journalists were allowed to move closer. The 11th victim's body was so mutlilated that the passenger, an Ethopian woman, was identifed only this weekend using DNA tests.

'We've been documenting the terrorist attacks for a long time,' said Sztulman, adding, 'We classified this stuff as almost secret.' Last summer, the foreign ministry's public affairs office showed one of its graphic videos to international journalists for the first time, but did not publicly air the footage.

Some of the most gruesome images from Thursday's bombing were edited out of the version now on the foreign ministry Web site, Sztulman said.

Even so, the footage remains jarring. Sztulman also captured the intimate details that illustrate how the explosion shattered what began as an ordinary ride for dozens of passengers on Egged Bus Number 19. Amid the carnage and the buckled frame of the bus, his camera recorded a black holy book still atop a sheaf of folders on one seat, a navy blue knapsack and silver mobile telephone tossed on the nearby pavement and a woman's leg in a black running shoe protruding into the bus aisle as though she were preparing to get up from her seat.

'You see this and it's sad to say you get used to it,' said Sztulman, who said he has been dispatched to the scene of most attacks in Jerusalem. 'You develop defenses. Otherwise, you'd go completely crazy. I dream for weeks after every bomb attack.'"

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