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Sunday, April 01, 2012

Hamas celebrates anniversary of Haifa restaurant bombing

Hamas newspaper Palestine Times has a featured article celebrating the ten year anniversary of the bombing of the Arab-owned Matza restaurant in Haifa, that killed 16 Israeli civilians. The article includes photos of the bomber as well as of the devastation to the restaurant, whose roof collapsed from the force of the explosion.


The article claims that the bomber intended to blow himself up in the nearby Grand Canyon shopping center but  the security there made him change his plans to the nearby restaurant filled with Israeli families enjoying their Passover vacation.

From the New York Times:
The Matza restaurant was one of those rare places in Israel where Jews felt they could find refuge in the company of Arabs.

But it turned out, none of them were safe. Although the restaurant's proprietors and many of its staff members are Arabs, a suicide bomber from the Islamic group Hamas walked through the door today and detonated his charge in the middle of the room, blasting screws and other shrapnel into people eating a late lunch.

He killed himself and 14 others, blowing the roof off the restaurant and spraying blood against the chrome table legs and glass out into the parking lot.

Witnesses described a wreckage of burning bodies and jumbled furniture, in which one woman bent over a wounded son, beside the bodies of her husband and another child. The dead included Israeli Arabs, the police said, but the authorities were still trying to identify some of the remains tonight.

The attack shocked both Arabs and Jews, who felt that the restaurant was a haven. ''Everyone knew this was an Arab restaurant, and we were not afraid,'' said Zeghain Amar, an Israeli Arab whose father, the Matza's cashier, was wounded. ''We had excellent relations between Arabs and Jews -- regular customers. I'm very, very upset.''

The victims:
Ron family
Aviel Ron, 54, of Haifa
Anat Ron, 21, of Haifa
Ofer Ron, 18, of Haifa

Koren family
Shimon Koren, 55, of Haifa
Ran Koren, 18, of Haifa
Gal Koren, 15, of Haifa

Shiran family
Adi Shiran, 17, of Haifa
Shimon Shiran, 57, of Haifa – died of his injuries on April 11, 2009 after remaining hospitalized for seven years.

Additional victims
Suheil Adawi, 32, of Turan
Dov Chernobroda, 67, of Haifa
Moshe Levin, 52, of Haifa
Danielle Menchel, 22, of Haifa
Orly Ofir, 16, of Haifa
Ya'akov Shani, 53, of Haifa
Daniel Carlos Wegman, 50, of Haifa
Carlos Yerushalmi, 52, of Karkur – died of his injuries on April 1, 2002

Interestingly, this happened right at the beginning of Israel's Operation Defensive Shield that was meant to stop such attacks. The New York Times quoted Israeli "experts" as to how it is impossible to stop suicide bombings:

Many Israeli commentators are wondering how it will stop suicide attackers, who are now striking almost anywhere, among religious Jews, secular Jews and now even Israeli Arabs. The attackers have been men and women, young and old, Palestinian and even, in one case, an Israeli Arab.

Nahum Barnea, the respected columnist for the newspaper Yediot Ahronot, wrote today that Palestinian terrorism was becoming ''a popular sport, the grand aspiration of thousands of young Palestinian girls and boys.

''You can kill, deport and deter professionals,'' he added. ''There is no military way to fight suicide bombers.''
We know now that Israel did stop the suicide bombings, with a combination of offensive thrusts into terrorist enclaves, a huge push to improve intelligence, and the building of the security fence.

The "experts" were wrong, which is a good thing to keep in mind when you read analyses today about how other things are supposedly impossible as well.