Thursday 7 May 2020


Hamas bombed a packed snooker hall in the Israeli city of Rishon LeZion, killing 15 people and injuring more than 50.  Just after 23:00hrs a suicide bomber detonated two devices inside the hall, one concealed in a briefcase and another in a suicide belt.  Police estimated there was around 8kg of explosives in total and the briefcase had been packed with metal bolts and nails in order to maximise casualties.  The blasts gutted the Sheffield Club building and blew out the windows, littering the street outside with debris and body parts.  It also caused part of the roof to fall in, hampering rescue efforts.  Relatives of the dead and injured gathered on the street for hours waiting for news.

The remains of the Sheffield Club snooker hall in Rishon LeZion

Hamas claimed responsibility for the bombing.  A number of people were later convicted in relation to the attack, including a Ukrainian woman who had driven the bomber to his target.  Irina Polishchuk was married to a Palestinian man, Ibrahim Sarahme, who was also convicted.  In 2011 Polishchuk was released early as part of the prisoner exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.  Her husband remained in prison, serving several life sentences.  The mastermind behind the attack, Ibrahim Hamda, is currently serving 54 life sentences.

The 15 victims were aged between 26 and 64.  58-year-old Rahamim Kimchy was a taxi driver who had gone inside the club to ask about a customer that had not come out.  His family later moved to the US and founded a charity called One Heart, dedicated to helping victims of terrorism around the world.

"I saw my father’s taxi outside the club at some point, called his cellphone, and no answer. At the end, the explosion had been so strong that we didn’t even have his body to bury".
Jacob Kimchy, son of victim

The victims

Esther Bablar, 54, from Bat Yam.  She was on a night out with her husband Yitzhak.  Esther was survived by three children from her first marriage.
Yitzhak Bablar, 58, from Bat Yam.  He was on a night out with his wife Esther.  Yitzhak was also survived by three children from his first marriage.
Avi Biaz, 26, from Nes Tziona.  A coffee shop employee, he was survived by his parents and three younger brothers.
Regina Malka Boslan, 62, from Tel Aviv.  She was killed alongside her friend Nawa Hinaki.  A widower, Regina was survived by five children from two marriages.
Edna Cohen, 61, from Holon.  She was celebrating her wedding anniversary at the club.  In addition to her husband, who was seriously injured, she was survived by their four children and 11 grandchildren.
Rafael Haim, 64, from Tel Aviv.  A retired truck driver, he was survived by his wife and their six children.
Pnina Hikri, 60, from Tel Aviv.  She had gone to the club with her husband.  She was survived by her husband, who escaped uninjured, and their four children.
Nawa Hinawi, 51, from Tel Aviv.  A hairdresser from a Christian Arab background, she was killed alongside her friend Regina Boslan.  She was survived by her three sons.
Rahamim Kimchy, 58, from Rishon LeZion.  A taxi driver, he was survived by his wife and three children.
Nir Lobatin, 31, from Herzliya.  The owner of a cleaning business, he was survived by his pregnant wife.
Shoshana Magmari, 51, from Tel Aviv.  A carer, she was out celebrating her recovery from cancer.  She was survived by her husband and three children.
Daliah Massah, 64, from Nahalat Yehudah.  A cook at a boarding school, the widower was survived by her only child.
Rassan Sharuk, 60, from Holon.  He was on a night out with his wife, who survived with minor injuries.  He was also survived by their four sons.
Yisrael Shikar, 49, from Rishon LeZion.  A plumber, he had gone to the club to collect a payment.  He was survived by his wife and three children.
Anat Temporush, 36, from Ashdod.  She was at the club with several members of her family, all of whom survived with various injuries.  She was survived by her husband, injured in the explosion, and their three children.