Dolphinarium discotheque massacre
|Dolphinarium suicide bombing|
|Part of the Second Intifada militancy campaign|
The abandoned ruins of the Dolphinarium in 2012.
|Location||Tel Aviv, Israel|
|Date||1 June 2001
23:30 pm (GMT+2)
|Deaths||21 victims (+1 bomber)|
The Dolphinarium discotheque massacre was a Hamas terror attack on 1 June 2001 in which a Hamas-affiliated Islamist terrorist blew himself up outside a nightclub on the beachfront in Tel Aviv, Israel, killing 21 Israelis, 16 of them teenagers. The majority of the victims were Israeli teenage girls, whose families had recently immigrated from the former Soviet Union.
Suicide bomber Saeed Hotari was standing in line on a Friday night in front of the Dolphinarium, when the area was packed with teenagers. Most of the crowd were young people from Russian-speaking families from the former Soviet Union, who were waiting for admission to a dance party at the Dolphin disco, and others were in line to enter the adjacent nightclub. Survivors of the attack later described how the young Palestinian bomber appeared to taunt his victims before the explosion, wandering among them dressed in a disguise that led his victims to mistake him for an Orthodox Jew from Asia. Before detonating his bomb, he banged a drum packed with explosives and ball-bearings, while taunting his victims in Hebrew with the words "Something's going to happen". At 23:27, he detonated his explosive device. Witnesses claimed that body parts lay all over the area, and that bodies were piled one above another on the sidewalk before being collected. Many civilians in the vicinity of the bombing rushed to assist emergency services.
The suicide bombing followed a failed attack attempt on the same target five months earlier.
Both Islamic Jihad and a group calling itself "Hezbollah-Palestine" originally claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, only to later retract the claims. Later on it was revealed that the attack was carried out by Saeed Hotari, age 22, a militant linked to the Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas.
- Involved parties
- Israeli officials called the attack a "massacre".
- President of the Palestinian Authority Yasser Arafat condemned the attack and called for a cease-fire.
- United Nations – U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated that he "condemns this indiscriminate terrorist attack in the strongest possible terms." and that the attack "underlines the urgency of breaking the cycle of violence".
- Kuwait – The Kuwaiti Foreign Minister and acting Premier Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah stated that he does not support Palestinian suicide bombings against civilians.
- United States – U.S. president George W. Bush stated that he condemns the attack in the strongest terms and that "There is no justification for senseless attacks against innocent civilians."
After the attack many in the Israeli public demanded a harsh military retaliation; nevertheless, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to not take any immediate retaliatory actions. US and other governments applied heavy diplomatic pressure on Israel to refrain from action. Nevertheless, the attack was later on noted as one of the reasons cited by the Israeli government for building the Israeli West Bank barrier.
In Ramallah dozens of Palestinians celebrated in the streets and fired in the air as a sign of celebration. The bomber, Saeed Hotari, was praised as a martyr by his father. President George W. Bush demanded that Yasser Arafat condemn the terrorist act. The next day, Israeli-Arabs barricaded themselves in the Hassan Bek Mosque opposite the Dolphinarium site and threw objects at the police.
According to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, an Israeli-based organization with close ties to the IDF, among the materials seized by the IDF in the course of Operation Defensive Shield were two documents issued by the Martyrs' Families and Injured Care Establishment, which is under the authority of the Palestinian National Authority's Ministry of Social Affairs. The documents detail the transfer of US$2,000 to the father of the suicide bomber, who was living in Jordan at that time (18 June 2001). According to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, the transfer was made despite the suicide bomber's Hamas affiliation, despite the father's public support of the suicide bombing attack, and despite Arafat's public condemnation of the bombing.
The Dolphinarium site
Since the bombing, the Dolphinarium discotheque has sat abandoned on the Tel Aviv beachfront, covered with graffiti. For years, family members of the victims have unsuccessfully campaigned to permanently preserve the ruined building as a monument to the attack, however, the site is currently up for sale to property developers. Memorial services to the victims of the attack are held every year at the site by friends and family of the victims.
- Civilian casualties in the Second Intifada
- Shevah Mofet - high school in Tel Aviv where seven of the killed teenagers and many of the injured studied
- Israeli casualties of war
- Palestinian political violence
- 2017 Manchester Arena bombing
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- Shalom, Silvan. "Q&A with Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom", Haaretz, 8 May 2008.
- Deborah Sontag, "Arafat Calls for Cease-Fire, Deploring Tel Aviv Attack", New York Times, 3 June 2001.
- Press Release SG/SM/7829 Archived June 9, 2012, at the Wayback Machine., domino.un.org, 1 June 2001.
- "Tel-Aviv suicide bombing at the Dolphin disco-1-Jun-2001". MFA. 2 June 2001.
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- 14 лет со дня чудовищного теракта в тель-авивском "Дольфи" 01.06.2015 22:41, 9tv.co.il
- "The Palestinian Authority's support of Hamas' suicide terrorism". October 2004. Retrieved 4 May 2008.
- "The Palestinian Authority's support of Hamas' suicide terrorism". 10 October 2004. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
- [Decided the fate of Tel Aviv Dolphinarium Решилась судьба тель-авивского дельфинария] 27-12-2014, 01:30, ЛЕОНИД РАБИН
- 14 лет со дня чудовищного теракта в тель-авивском "Дольфи" 01.06.2015 22:41, 9tv.co.il
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dolphinarium massacre memorial.|
- Tel-Aviv suicide bombing at the Dolphin disco, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; accessed 2 September 2015
- Dolphin Tragedy – Memorial site
- At Least 17 Dead In Tel Aviv Suicide Bombing, Times Daily, 2 June 2001
- At Least 17 Dead, 86 Wounded In Tel Aviv Beachfront Bombing, The Item, 2 June 2001
- Eyewitness accounts from the scene of the massacre, Ynet, 2 June 2001 (Hebrew)
- Inside the mind of a suicide bomber, ABC News, 6 December 2001
- Devotion, desire drive youths to 'martyrdom', USA Today; 26 June 2001
- Driver of the Dolphinarium attack terrorist – charged with homicide, Ynet, 10 July 10, 2001 (in Hebrew)