Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing

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Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing
Part of the Second Intifada militancy campaign
SbarroAfter1.jpg
The restaurant after the bombing
Israel outline jerusalem.png
Red pog.svg
The attack site
Location Jerusalem
Coordinates 31°46′59.37″N 35°13′4.51″E / 31.7831583°N 35.2179194°E / 31.7831583; 35.2179194
Date 9 August 2001
2:00 pm (IDT)
Target Sbarro pizza restaurant
Attack type
Suicide bombing
Deaths 15 civilians
Non-fatal injuries
130
Perpetrators Hamas

The Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing, also called the Sbarro massacre,[1] was a Palestinian terrorist attack on a pizzeria in downtown Jerusalem on 9 August 2001, in which 15 civilians were killed, including 7 children and a pregnant woman, and 130 wounded.

The attack[edit]

At the time of the bombing, the Jerusalem branch of the Sbarro pizza restaurant chain was located at the corner of King George Street and Jaffa Road in Jerusalem, one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the region. The building was built with the same "Pal-Kal" construction technique deemed responsible for the Versailles wedding hall disaster less than three months before. Although not required to do so, owner Noam Amar added extra support columns on the advice of city inspectors.[2]

Ahlam Tamimi, who was charged as an accomplice, scouted for a target before leading Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri, the suicide bomber, to the Sbarro restaurant. They arrived just before 2:00 pm, when the restaurant was filled with customers, "dozens of women, children and babies",[3] and pedestrian traffic outside was at its peak. Tamimi departed before Al-Masri, thought to be carrying a rigged guitar case or wearing an explosive belt weighing 5 to 10 kilograms, containing explosives, nails, nuts and bolts, detonated his bomb.[3]

The dead included 13 Israelis, one pregnant American, and one Brazilian, all of them civilians. Additionally, 130 were injured. Chana Nachenberg remains hospitalized, in a permanent vegetative state, more than thirteen years after the attack. She was 31 years old at the time of the bombing. Her daughter, who was not yet 3 years old at the time, was one of the few in the restaurant who came through the disaster unscathed. [3]

Yocheved Shoshan, age 10, was killed, and her 15-year-old sister Miriam was severely injured with 60 nails lodged in her body, a hole in her right thigh, third degree burns on 40 percent of her body, and a ruptured spleen.[3] According to the testimony of their mother, Esther Shoshan:

I was upstairs with one of my daughters. We had wanted to sit downstairs where it's roomy, near the windows, but it was too crowded. Two of my daughters had gone to park the car. Two others, Miriam and Yocheved, went down to the lower level to get our food.

Then there was an enormous blast. The place went dark. People started screaming: 'Pigua! Pigua!' [Terror attack! Terror attack!] But at first I didn't believe it. People shouted: 'Get out! There may be another blast.' Finally, we ran downstairs. There was a terrible stench. I saw body parts everywhere - here a limb, there a head. The bodies were bloated. There was water everywhere; I have no idea where it came from. I searched for my children.

My two daughters who had gone to the car-park arrived seconds later. The older one came inside and found Miriam and Yocheved. They were on fire. She managed to put out the flames but was then rushed away by rescue workers. I couldn't leave. I was torn. The rescue workers kept dragging me to the door. I'd start to go, then run back screaming, 'My girls, my girls!' I wanted to help them.[3]

Mordechai and Tzira Schijveschuurder, both children of Holocaust survivors were killed along with three of their children. Two other daughters, Leah, 11, and Chaya, 8, were critically injured.[4] The family was Dutch. During the Holocaust, Tzira's parents were in Bergen Belsen and Theresienstadt. Mordechai's parents successfully hid from the Nazis.[5]

According to the testimony of Chaya Schijveschuurder:

The last time I saw my brother Avraham Yitzhak, he was lying on a stretcher in an ambulance. He had a bandage on his face. He was four years old. Now our parents are not alive either. But soon the Messiah will come and all the people that have died, and all the people killed in wars and terror attacks, will come back to life.

We were hungry, so Mommy said we could go to a restaurant to eat. In that restaurant, you have to pay first and only afterwards you sit down to eat. When we were at the cash register, we suddenly heard an explosion. I ran out as fast as I could. I didn’t look at anything. I just ran out. A medic, I don’t know his name, took me to an ambulance and that is where I saw Avraham Yitzhak for the last time.

I said to him, 'Avraham Yitzhak.' But he didn’t say anything. After that they took me on a stretcher to the hospital, and I had to have an operation to remove the screws that entered my liver and leg. I saw a sign on the door that said 'Operating Room' and started to cry. After that I didn’t see anything.

In my house, they are sitting 'shiva' right now. My brothers came here with their torn shirts. I asked them 'Why are your shirts torn?' but they didn’t want to tell me that my parents were dead. My brothers were not with us in the restaurant. They found me first. After that, they found out that my sister and my brother were dead.

My little sister was always happy. I remember her so well. She used to laugh all day long. On the day of the terror attack she was very happy. Daddy went to the bank, and we went into the restaurant and asked if we could order first and pay later, after Daddy came. They said no – so we went to wait for him at the bank. When he came out, we returned to the restaurant, and that's when the explosion occurred. I loved that restaurant very much. It had very, very good pizza.[6]

Chaviv Avrahami, who saw the scene of the attack after the bombing, recounted: "I heard a tremendous explosion, and I was thrown up a metre into the air. I knew immediately that it was a bomb attack, and a catastrophic one. There were people - babies - thrown through the window and covered with blood. The whole street was covered with blood and bodies: the dead and the dying."[7] Naor Shara, a soldier who witnessed the attack, said, "The worst thing I saw, which I think will haunt me all my life, is a baby that was sitting in a stroller outside a shop and was dead. After the explosion, the baby's mother came out of the store and started screaming hysterically."[7]

Fatalities[edit]

Nationality Fatalities
 Israel 13
 Brazil 1
 United States 1
 Australia 1[8]
  • Zvika Golombek, 26, from Karmiel[9]
  • Shoshana Yehudit (Judy) Greenbaum, 31 (5 months pregnant), from Passaic, New Jersey, U.S. (שושנה ג'ודית גרינבוים)[10]
  • Tehila Maoz, 18, from Jerusalem (תהילה מעוז)[11]
  • Frieda Mendelsohn, 62, from Jerusalem[12]
  • Michal Raziel, 16, from Jerusalem (מיכל רזיאל)[13]
  • Malka Chana (Malki) Roth, 15, from Jerusalem (מלכה חנה רוט)[14][15]
  • Mordechai Schijveschuurder, 43, from Neria (מרדכי סכיווסחורדר)[16]
  • Tzira Schijveschuurder, 41, from Neria[17]
  • Ra'aya Schijveschuurder, 14, from Neria (רעיה סכיווסחורדר)[18]
  • Avraham Yitzhak Schijveschuurder, 4, from Neria (אברהם יצחק סכיווסחורדר)[19]
  • Hemda Schijveschuurder, 2, from Neria (חמדה סכיווסחורדר)[20]
  • Lily Shimashvili, 33, from Jerusalem (לאלי שימשאשווילי)[21]
  • Tamara Shimashvili, 8, from Jerusalem[22]
  • Yocheved Shoshan, 10, from Jerusalem[23]
  • Giora Balash, 60, from Brazil (גיורא בלש)[24]

The perpetrators[edit]

Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri, the perpetrator of the bombing.

Both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine initially claimed responsibility,[25] with Hamas saying that the attack was in response to Israel's assassination ten days earlier in Nablus of the two leading Hamas commanders Jamal Mansour and Omar Mansour as well as six civilians including two children.[7][26][27]

The suicide bomber who died in the course of carrying out the attack was later identified to be Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri (Arabic: عز الدين شهيل المصري‎) from the Palestinian West Bank town of Aqabah. Izz al-Masri was 22 at the time and the son of a successful restaurant owner, and from an affluent land-owning family.

The person who constructed the explosives was a man named Abdallah Barghouti. For his part in this and a string of other attacks, in which 66 civilians were killed, he was handed down 67 life sentences on 30 November 2004.[28]

Ahlam Tamimi[edit]

Main article: Ahlam Tamimi

Izz al-Masri was escorted to the restaurant by Ahlam Tamimi, a 20-year-old female university student and part-time journalist, who had disguised herself as a Jewish tourist for the occasion. She later commented that she was not sorry for what she had done and does not recognize Israel’s existence. "Despite the fact that I'm sentenced to 16 life sentences I know that we will become free from Israeli occupation and then I will also be free from the prison," she said.[29] Reportedly, when she first learned from a journalist who was interviewing her in jail that she had murdered eight children, not just three as she had initially believed, she just smiled broadly and continued with the interview.[30][31]

Tamimi was released in October 2011 in exchange for the release of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.[32]

In an interview which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on 12 July 2012 (as translated by MEMRI), Tamimi described the reaction of other Palestinians immediately after the bombing:

After hearing an initial report that "three people were killed" in the bombing, Tamimi stated:

Official reactions[edit]

Involved parties

 Israel:

  • In response to the attack, Israel shut down the unofficial Palestinian "foreign office" in Jerusalem, at the Orient House.[34]
  • Foreign Minister Peres said, "If the Palestinian Authority had acted with the necessary determination and carried out preventive detentions of Hamas terrorists and their operators, the murders today in Jerusalem would have been prevented."[25]

 Palestinian territories:

Supranational
  •  United Nations – According to the U.N. press release, "UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned today's terror attack by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem. He deplored all acts of terror and is deeply disturbed by the terrible loss of life."[25]
  •  European Union – According to the Belgian EU Presidency, "The Presidency of the European Union unreservedly condemns the bombing of a Jerusalem shopping centre today, 9 August. It abhors this cowardly act which mainly claimed the lives of innocent civilians."[25]
International
  •  United States – U.S. President George W. Bush expressed condolences and stated, "I deplore and strongly condemn the terrorist bombing in downtown Jerusalem today. My heartfelt sympathies and those of the American people are with the victims of this terrible tragedy and their families."[25]

Palestinian exhibit[edit]

After the suicide bombing, Palestinian university students at the An-Najah University in the West Bank city of Nablus created an exhibition celebrating the first anniversary of the Second Intifada.[35][36] The exhibit’s main attraction was a room-sized re-enactment of the bombing at Sbarro. The installation featured broken furniture splattered with fake blood and human body parts.[35] The entrance to the exhibition was illustrated with a mural depicting the bombing. The exhibit was later shut down by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.[37]

Response and activism of victims' families[edit]

In 2001, the family of Malka Chana (Malki) Roth, a 15-year-old victim of the attack, founded The Malki Foundation, a charity organization that supports families of children with disabilities. All services and equipment are provided at no cost to the families. People of all religions and backgrounds are eligible for assistance.[38] The organization is a memorial to Malka Roth's life.[39] Later, Malka's parents, Arnold and Frimet Roth, participated in a mass protest in Europe alongside the families of other terror victims in support of the legality the Israeli West Bank barrier. Arnold remarked, "Do I feel bad about the destruction the fence is causing? I do. But do not compare the murder of my daughter to the inability of a Palestinian to get to work by 9:00 A.M."[40]

The husband of Shoshana Greenbaum, the pregnant woman killed in the attack, responded by organizing a group called "A Partner in Kindness" and writing a column called "A Daily Dose of Kindness". He explained that he made these efforts in attempt to "improve the world".[41]

2011 prisoner exchange[edit]

During the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange, relatives of the victims of the bombing vehemently protested the release of Ahlam Tamimi, who chose the Sbarro restaurant as a target and drove the bomber to the location.[3]

Arnold and Frimet Roth circulated a petition against Tamimi's inclusion in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange and also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu urging him to exclude her from the list.[42] Frimet Roth said in October, "We feel desperate. We beg Mr. Netanyahu to grant us a few minutes of his time and hear us out. In any sane country with a fair judicial system, even paroled murderers are not released without granting the victims' loved ones a chance to address the parole board."[43]

Chaya Schijveschuurder, whose parents and three siblings were killed in the attack, protested with a sign that read, "My parents' blood screams from the grave!" Her brother, Shvuel, vandalized the Yitzhak Rabin memorial and commented, "My opinions are all right compared to [Chaya's] and compared to how she feels about the deal. She was badly wounded in the [Sbarro] attack, she feels that releasing the terrorist is as if she were raped and then the rapist went and murdered her parents and is now being released. For her it's like being raped twice."[44]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^
  2. ^ Hillel Fendel (31 May 2007). "Inventor of Pal-Kal Sentenced to Four Years". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 18 January 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Frimet Roth (August 11, 2006). "Remembering the Sbarro bombing five years on". Ha'aretz. Retrieved April 6, 2013. 
  4. ^ "'This isn't a funeral. It's a Holocaust'". London: The Guardian. 11 August 2001. Retrieved April 6, 2013. 
  5. ^ Suicide bombing took his parents, three siblings By ANDREA JACOBS, IJN Staff Writer
  6. ^ The massacre in Jerusalem’s Sbarro restaurant
  7. ^ a b c d 'The street was covered with blood and bodies: the dead and the dying', The Guardian, 10 August 2001.
  8. ^ "Malka Roth". GxMSDev. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  9. ^ "Zvika Golombek". GxMSDev. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  10. ^ "Shoshana Yehudit Greenbaum". GxMSDev. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  11. ^ "Tehila Maoz". GxMSDev. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  12. ^ "Frieda Mendelsohn". GxMSDev. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  13. ^ "Michal Raziel". GxMSDev. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  14. ^ "The Malki Foundation - Death of Innocents". Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  15. ^ "Malka Roth". GxMSDev. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  16. ^ "Mordechai Schijveschuurder". GxMSDev. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  17. ^ "Tzira Schijveschuurder". GxMSDev. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  18. ^ "Ra-aya Schijveschuurder". GxMSDev. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  19. ^ "Avraham Yitzhak". GxMSDev. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  20. ^ "Hemda Schijveschuurder". GxMSDev. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  21. ^ "Lily Shimashvili". GxMSDev. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  22. ^ "Tamara Shimashvili". GxMSDev. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  23. ^ "Yocheved Shoshan". GxMSDev. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  24. ^ "Giora Balash". GxMSDev. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  25. ^ a b c d e "Suicide bombing at the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem - 9-Aug-2001". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. August 9, 2001. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  26. ^ Jerusalem bombing: A war increasing in cruelty, fuelled by lust for revenge, The Independent, 10 August 2001.
  27. ^ Who carried out suicide bombing?, The Guardian, 10 August 2001.
  28. ^ "Abdallah Barghouti sentenced to 67 life sentences". GxMSDev. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  29. ^ Sbarro terrorist 'not sorry', Ynetnews, 27 March 2006
  30. ^ Regards from Amman: The Tamimi Family and the Good Life by Meir Indor, TheJewishPress.com, 27 June 2012.
  31. ^ From terrorist to talk-show host: a letter to Netanyahu by Frimet Roth, Times of Israel, April 1, 2012.
  32. ^ "Israel releases list of Palestinian prisoners to be swapped". CNN. 16 October 2011. 
  33. ^ a b Released Hamas Terrorist Ahlam Tamimi on Palestinian Public's Delight at Suicide Bombings, MEMRI (transcript), Clip No. 3539, July 12, 2012. video clip with subtitles
  34. ^ Yaacov Lozowick, Right to Exist, 2003, p.20
  35. ^ a b "Gruesome exhibit marks anniversary of uprising". The Associated Press. 24 September 2001. Retrieved 9 August 2006. 
  36. ^ "An Exhibit on Campus Celebrates Grisly Deed". The New York Times. 25 September 2001. Retrieved 9 August 2006. 
  37. ^ Arafat closes 'suicide bombing' art show, BBC, 26 September 2001.
  38. ^ Keren Malki website/
  39. ^ The power of numbers, Frimet Roth, Haaretz
  40. ^ Giulio Meotti (2010). A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel's Victims of Terrorism. Retrieved April 28, 2013. 
  41. ^ "Lesson on Faith: Sbarro Bombing and a Book on Kindness". Israel National News. August 9, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  42. ^ Family begs for daughter’s killer to be kept in prison by Tovah Lazaroff, Jerusalem Post, 17 October 2011.
  43. ^ "Mother of Israeli suicide bombing victim: Do not free my daughter's murderer". Ha'aretz. October 16, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2013. 
  44. ^ "Vandal in Rabin memorial case: Shalit family sold Israel for son". Ha'aretz. October 16, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 

External links[edit]