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Monday, April 17, 2006

And Again - At Least 9 Dead and At Least 60 Wounded in Tel Aviv Terror Attack

At least nine people were murdered this afternoon and at least sixty more wounded in a suicide terror attack in the area of Tel Aviv's old central bus station, which was carried out by a 16-year old boy from Jenin. Islamic Jihad took 'credit' for the attack. The attack took place around 1:30 PM today (right about the time I left my house to take my family to Jerusalem's Old City - (my wife is grateful that) I do not know how to blog from my cell phone).

Of the sixty people wounded in the blast, fifteen were wounded seriously, at least one of whom is in criticial condition. The wounded include two children.

Magen David Adom has asked the public to donate blood, especially type O. Those interested can do so at MDA donating stations at Tel Hashomer Hospital, in Jerusalem, Acre, and many shopping malls throughout the country. Details can be received at 03-5300400 or at MDA's website www.madais.org.

This was the second suicide attack to take place at Falafel Rosh Ha'ir restaurant near Tel Aviv's old central bus station. The same restaurant was targeted four months ago by a suicide bomber from the Islamic Jihad, who together with the Aksa Martyrs' Brigades claimed responsibility for Monday's attack in a video released to Palestinian television. [The 'Aksa Martyrs' Brigades' is a part of Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen's Fatah organization. CiJ].

This is from JPost.com:

An eyewitness said that he had seen a security guard stop and search a young man, later identified by Islamic Jihad as Sami Salim Mohammed Hammed, 16, from the village of Arakeh near Jenin. Hammed, according to the witness, detonated a bag at the entrance to the restaurant just prior to the blast. According to the Associated Press, Hammed's family said he was a 21-year-old University dropout. [Yes, that's him to your right. CiJ]

Hammed said in his farewell video that he carried out the bombing as a gesture for thousands of Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Monday was marked as Prisoners Day in the Palestinian areas.

After learning of the bombing, the Hammeds began moving furniture and belongings out of their home, for fear it would be demolished by the IDF.

The mother, Samiya Hammad said there had been no warning signs that her son was getting involved with a terrorist group.


Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert responded to the first terror attack of his short tenure by saying that, "We will know how to respond. We know what to do." [Exactly what Ehud Barak used to say. He fiddled while the country burned for two years and then we got Ariel Sharon. CiJ]

The new Hamas-led PA government called the suicide bombing a legitimate response to Israeli "aggression." [With which they can 'plausibly deny' being involved, since two other terror organizations took credit. CiJ]

"We think that this operation ... is a direct result of the policy of the occupation and the brutal agression and siege committed against our people," said Khaled Abu Helal, spokesman for the Interior Ministry.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas denounced the attack, saying it harmed Palestinian interests. [But of course, there's nothing morally wrong with it in Abbas' book either. CiJ]

HaAretz adds:

A witness, Israel Yaakov, said the blast killed a woman standing near her husband and children, who were lightly wounded.

"The father was traumatized, he went into shock. He ran to the children to gather them up and the children were screaming, 'Mom! Mom!' and she wasn't answering, she was dead already... it's a shocking scene."

Moussa al-Zidat said the guard at the falafel restaurant where the attack occurred asked the bomber to open his bag.

"I saw a young man beginning to open his bag. The guard started to open the bag, and then I heard a boom."

"[The bomb went off near] 'Rosh Ha'ir' falafel - right in front of me," an unnamed taxi driver told Israel Radio.

"It was a terrific explosion. I can't say [whether it was a suicide bomber or not], but I can say that it was a massive explosion, an unbelievable site. I saw at least eight [wounded]."

Sonia Levy, 62, said she had just finished shopping when the blast went off.

"I was about to get into my car, and boom, there was an explosion. A bit of human flesh landed on my car and I started to scream," she said. Her car was 50 meters from the explosion and its windshield was smeared with blood.

"I am beyond despair," said Asher Bracha, 46, the owner of a small market two doors from the restaurant that blew up.

"I heard a deafening blast. I knew it was another attack."

The wounded were treated on sidewalks. One man was lying on his side, his shirt pushed up and his back covered by bandages. A bleeding woman was wheeled away on a stretcher. A dazed-looking man walked near the site, his white T-shirt splattered with blood.

The blast shattered the windshields of cars, and blew out the windows of nearby buildings. Glass shards and blood splattered the ground. The sign of the restaurant's building was blown away. Bottles and other debris were scattered up to 25 meters from the site of the blast.

While rescue crews tended to the wounded, a helicopter hovered overhead and a two marksmen took up positions on the roof of the targeted building. Teams sifted through debris looking for evidence and body parts.
YNet adds:

Monday's suicide terror attacks marks the sixth attack in the past four years in that area. In previous terror attacks dozens of people were killed and hundreds wounded.

On January 19 of this year, 32 people were wounded in a terror attack in the same fast food stand targeted Monday. The suicide bomber, an Islamic Jihad member, was killed. Massive police forces were called to the scene while Magen David Adom paramedic teams evacuated the wounded to hospitals.

Police sappers went into the shawarma stand and scoured the whole area. The main damage was done to the inside of the store. Initial investigation showed that the terrorist went into the fast food stand and detonated the explosives he was carrying.

On July 11, 2004, a 19 years-old IDF soldier, sergeant Maayan Naim was killed and about 40 people wounded in a terror attack at a bus stop on Har Zion street right by the old central bus station. Police investigation revealed that a relatively small explosive device hidden in a bag was placed near the bus stop. A bus that drove by the station at the time of the blast was damaged in the attack.

On January 6, 2003, 23 people were killed and over 100 wounded in a double suicide attack at the station. Some of the victims were foreign workers, among them two babies. Two suicide terrorist blew themselves up one after the other in two parallel streets located near the station. Both terrorist carried powerful explosives with metal nuts and bolts on their bodies, leading to the high casualty toll.

On July 18 2002, three people were killed, two of whom foreign workers, and 30 wounded in a terror attack that took at a convenience store on Neve Sha'anan Street right by the station. The terror attack was carried out by two suicide bombers belonging to the Islamic Jihad.

On January 25, 2002, 25 people were wounded, three of them seriously, in a terror attack in the area. A suicide bomber blew himself up next to a parked moped and died. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack and identified the suicide bomber as a resident of a village near Nablus.


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