Jaffa Road bus bombings

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The Jaffa Road bus bombings were attacks on two No. 18 buses in Jerusalem, Israel in 1996. Hamas suicide bombers killed 45 people in the attacks,[1] which were masterminded by Mohammed Deif, using explosives prepared by Adnan Awul.[2] These two bombings, within a few days of each other, occurred during a Hamas offensive launched after the killing of Yahya Ayyash, included the French Hill neighborhood attack, a suicide bombing in Ashkelon and a terrorist attack near Dizengoff centre in Tel Aviv.

First bombing[edit]

Jaffa Road bus bombing (February 25, 1996)
HAMAS suicide bombing in Jerusalem on 25 February (DoS Publication 10321).png
Aftermath of the Jaffa Road bus bombings
Location Jerusalem
Date February 25, 1996
Target bus
Attack type
suicide bomber
Deaths 17 Israeli civilians
9 Israeli soldiers (+ 1 suicide bomber)
Non-fatal injuries
48 mostly civilians
Perpetrators Palestinian assailant, trained, armed, and supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran.[3] Hamas claimed responsibility.

On the morning of February 25, 1996, a suicide bomber blew himself up on a No.18 bus traveling down Jaffa Road near the Jerusalem Central Bus Station. 17 civilians and 9 Israeli soldiers were killed and 48, mostly civilians, injured.

In 2014 journalist Mike Kelly published "The Bus on Jaffa Road; A Story of Middle East Terrorism and the Search for Justice. Kirkus praised it as, "a spiral of horror and reckoning".[4]

According to Kelly, Yassir Arafat was aware of these planned bombings.[5]

The victims:[6]

Civilians
  • Daniel Biton, 42
  • Yitzhak Elbaz, 57
  • Boris Sharpolinsky, 64
  • Semion Trakashvili, 60
  • Yitzhak Yakhnis, 54
  • Peretz Gantz, 61
  • Anatoly Kushnirov, 36
  • Anatoly Kushnirov, 37
  • Masuda Amar, 59
  • Swietlana Gelezniak, 32
  • Celine Zaguri, 19
  • Navon Shabo, 22, of Bnei Brak
  • Michael Yerigin, 16, of Kibbutz Maabarot
  • Matthew Eisenfeld, 25 of the United States
  • Sara Duker, 23, of the United States
  • Wael Kawasmeh, 23, of East Jerusalem, later died of his wounds
  • Ira Yitzhak Weinstein, 53, of Maaleh Adumim, later died of his wounds
Soldiers
  • Sgt. Yonatan Barnea, 20
  • St-Sgt. Gavriel Krauss, 24
  • St.-Sgt. Gadi Shiloni, 22
  • Cpl. Moshe Reuven, 19
  • St.-Sgt. Maj. (res.) Arye Barashi, 39
  • Cpl. Iliya Nimotin, 19
  • Cpl. Merav Nahum, 19
  • Sgt. Sharon Hanuka, 19;
  • Arik Gaby, 16 (student in pre-army boarding school) – all of Jerusalem.

Murder planner[edit]

Hamas operative Hassan Salameh was captured by Israel in Hebron in May, 1996.[7] Israel, which has only once imposed a death penalty, sentenced Salameh to 46 consecutive life sentences for directing 3 mass-casualty attacks.[8] Salameh, a devout Muslim, has continued to maintain that he acted in a righteous manner in bombing civilian buses, saying, ""I believe what I did is a legitimate right my religion and all of the world gave me..." in 1997,[9] and in an interview almost 2 decades later.[10] According to Mike Kelly, Salameh was trained in Iran.[11]

Second bombing[edit]

Jaffa Road bus bombing
(March 3, 1996)
Location Jerusalem
Date March 3, 1996
Target bus
Attack type
suicide bomber
Deaths 16 Israeli civilians
3 Israeli soldiers (+ 1 suicide bomber)
Non-fatal injuries
7 civilians
Perpetrators Lone Palestinian assailant (Mohammed Abdo).[12] Hamas claimed responsibility.

On the morning of March 3, 1996, a suicide bomber boarded another No. 18 bus, detonating an explosive belt that killed 16 civilians and three Israeli soldiers and wounded 7.

The victims:[13]

Civilians
  • Maya Birkan, 59
  • Naima Zargary, 66
  • Gavriel Shamashvili, 43
  • Shemtov Sheikh, 63
  • Anna Shingeloff, 36
  • Raya Daushvili, 55
  • George Yonan, 38 – all of Jerusalem;
  • Angel al-Syriani, 45, of Beit Jalla
  • Gidi Taspanish, 23, a tourist from Ethiopia
  • Valerian Krasyon, 44, a tourist from Romania
  • Dominic Lunca, 29
  • Daniel Patenka, 33
  • Marian Grefan, 40
  • Mirce Gifa, 39
  • Dimitru Kokarascu, 43 – all Romanian workers.
  • Imar Ambrose, 51, of Romania, died on March 9.
Soldiers
  • Sgt. Yoni Levy, 21, of Jerusalem
  • Sgt. Haim Amedi, 19, of Jerusalem
  • Senior NCO Uzi Cohen, 54, border policeman of Jerusalem.

Legal action[edit]

Commemorative plaque for those who died in the March 3, 1996 bus bombing on Jaffa Road

The families of United States victims Matthew Eisenfeld and Sarah Duker sued Iran for backing the attack, and won a US$327 million judgment in 2000. The Clinton Administration then blocked the families' efforts to seize certain Iranian assets in the United States.[14] As of 2006 collection efforts continue through legal process. The families, together with the family of another United States citizen killed in the same attack, now seek as much as US$900 million from Iran. In 2006 an Italian court domesticated the US court ruling, and temporarily froze Iranian assets. The plaintiffs have stated that they intend to pursue Iran through other European Union courts.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Suicide and Other Bombing Attacks in Israel Since the Declaration of Principles (Sept 1993). Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  2. ^ Terrorists Recently Released by the Palestinian Authority – 12-Oct-2000. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  3. ^ Kelly, Michael (2014). Bus on Jaffa Road: A Story of Middle East Terrorism and the Search for Justice. Lyons Press. p. 164-179. 
  4. ^ Kirkus (7 October 2014). "The Bus on Jaffa Road; A Story of Middle East Terrorism and the Search for Justice". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  5. ^ Leichman, Abigail Klein (7 October 2014). "A Search for Justice". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  6. ^ "Fatal Terrorist Attacks in Israel Since the Declaration of Principles". MFA. September 24, 2000. Retrieved 2011-09-22. 
  7. ^ Inquirer (19 May 1996). "Israel Arrests A Hamas Leader Hassan Salameh Was Shot And Wounded In A Chase. He Is Believed To Have Planned Three Of This Year's Bombings". Philadelphia Inquirer. INQUIRER WIRE SERVICES. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  8. ^ TribuneNews (8 July 1997). "Israel Gives Islamic Radical 46 Life Sentences In Bombings". Chicago Tribune. Tribune News Services. 
  9. ^ LoLordo, Ann (31 March 1997). "Hamas' deadly defender Accused terrorist is a pariah to Israel, hero to Palestinians". Baltimore Sun. Sun Foreigh Staff. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  10. ^ Leichman, Abigail Klein (7 October 2014). "A Search for Justice". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  11. ^ Leichman, Abigail Klein (7 October 2014). "A Search for Justice". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  12. ^ Katz, 279
  13. ^ "Fatal Terrorist Attacks in Israel Since the Declaration of Principles". MFA. September 24, 2000. Retrieved 2011-09-22. 
  14. ^ U.S. Judge Orders Iran to Pay Families of Bombing Victims, New York Times, July 13, 2000
  15. ^ Vicki and Leonard take on Iran, Jerusalem Post, April 28, 2006

External links[edit]