The threat of terror attacks in Israel is substantial; in 20 years, there have been more than 150 suicide-bombing attacks, an average of one attack every two months, and this is without taking into account rocket attacks, stabbings and car rammings. Several terrorist organizations have led these attacks, and the IDF and Israel Security Services have spent much time and effort in preventing them. Though there has been an improvement in the last years, recent events have proved that the will to perpetrate such attacks still exists.
Below is a summary of 8 suicide bombings that show why the IDF must continue to work tirelessly to prevent such attacks.
Tel Aviv, 1994 — Hamas
On October 19, at 9AM, a huge explosion shook Tel Aviv. Just meters away from Dizengoff Square, Abd Rahim Nazel detonated a 20kg explosive device inside a number 5 bus. Twenty-two people were killed in the attack and 47 others were injured. It was later discovered that the explosive device was designed by Yahya Ayyash, the chief bombmaker of Hamas. At the time, the attack was the deadliest suicide bombing in Israeli history, but unfortunately, it was followed by many others.
Tel Aviv, 2001 — Hamas
On Friday, June 1, 2001, young people in Tel Aviv decided to take advantage of the weekend, go out and have fun. Some of them chose to go to the Dolphinarium, a nightclub near the beach. While a big crowd stood outside waiting to get in, a terrorist blew himself up. The attack killed 21 people and injured more than 100. A year later, Hussam Badran, the commander of the military branch of Hamas in Syria, was arrested for planning this attack among others.
Megiddo Junction, 2002 — Palestinian Islamic Jihad
On June 6, 2002, the number 830 bus left Tel Aviv and started for Tiberias, just as it did every morning. Many of the passengers were soldiers headed to their bases in the north. Around 7AM, when the bus reached Megiddo Junction, near the city of Afula, a car bomb neared it and exploded. The blast was so strong that the bus flipped over and burst into flames. Seventeen people were killed in the attack and 43 others were injured. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad later took responsibility for the attack and confirmed that the perpetrator was Hamza Samoudi, 18 years old from Jenine.
Netanya, 2002 — Hamas
On Passover eve, March 27, 2002, the Park Hotel in Netanya organized, as it did every year, a grand passover meal in their “celebrations room”. Two-hundred and fifty guests were expected to arrive, the majority of which were elders who could not prepare a meal for themselves. Around 7:15PM, a terrorist entered the hotel and detonated his explosive belt in the center of the room. Nineteen people were killed on the spot, and 11 others later died of their wounds. Another 160 people were injured in the attack. Abdel Basset Odeh, 25 years old from Tulkarm, was identified as the suicide bomber. Hamas took responsibility for the attack.
Jerusalem, 2002 — Hamas and Al Aqsa Brigades
On Tuesday morning, June 18, 2002, bus number 32A started its route in the Gilo neighborhood in Jerusalem. When it arrived in Beit Safafa, an Arab neighborhood, Muhammad El-Ral boarded the bus, which was full of people due to the morning rush. He detonated an explosive device, killing 19 people and injuring 74 others. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. The following day, on June 19, a terrorist from the Al Aqsa Brigades blew himself up in the “French Hill” bus stop in Jerusalem. Seven people were killed and 41 were injured.
Haifa, 2003 — Palestinian Islamic Jihad
On October 4, 2003, Hanadi Jaradat, a law student, entered the Maxim restaurant located near the beach in Haifa and sat down to have a meal. At that point, no one knew that she was wearing an explosive belt. After she finished eating, she detonated the device, killing 21 people and wounding four. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad proclaimed her the “Bride of Haifa” to honor her “marriage to the soil of the homeland.”
Jerusalem, 2004 — Al Aqsa Brigade
On January 29, 2004, at 8:45AM, a huge blast was heard throughout the center of Jerusalem. A terrorist of the Al Aqsa brigade detonated himself in bus number 19, not far from the residence of the Prime Minister. This suicide attack caused the death of 11 people and injured 40 others. The terrorist who committed the attack, Ali Jaara, 24 years old from Bethlehem, wrote in a letter that other suicide attacks would soon follow.
Tel Aviv 2006 — Palestinian Islamic Jihad
On April 17, 2006, Sami Salim Hamad, 21 years old from Jenin, arrived at a restaurant near the central bus station in Tel Aviv, an area that is constantly crowded. The security guard in the restaurant asked him to open his bag in order to check it. Seconds later, the terrorist detonated the explosive devices he was carrying. Nine people were killed and 68 were injured in the attack.