No-one claimed responsibility for the attack. Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad released statements denying involvement, fearing that it would alienate support for their cause. The diplomatic mission had been on its way to Gaza City to interview applicants for scholarships in the US. The three fatalities were all security personnel and were travelling in the same jeep as one of the diplomats. Miraculously the diplomat survived and was initially treated at a Palestinian hospital before being transferred to an Israeli hospital.
Following the explosion American investigators arrived at the scene. The bombing had occurred near a Palestinian refugee camp and groups of youngsters gathered and pelted the Americans with stones and the chanted "Allahu akbar" (God is great). Palestinian police pushed the mob back, but ultimately the investigators had to withdraw after hurriedly retrieving the bodies.
|Palestinian investigators at the scene, the wrecked jeep can be seen
in the background
The three victims were employed by US security contractor DynCorp. John Branchizio, 37, was a former Navy SEAL from San Antonio, Texas. A divorcee, he was survived by his eight-year-old son. John Linde, 30, was a former US Marine from Washington, Missouri. He was survived by his wife. The third victim was 31-year-old New Yorker Mark Parson.