Thursday 18 June 2020


Hamas killed 19 people in a bus bombing.  The suicide bomber struck during morning rush hour in the Gilo district of Jerusalem.  He boarded the 32A bus at 07:50, near Patt junction, and almost immediately detonated his explosives, obliterating the front half of the vehicle.  The bus was packed with students and people en route to work.  The ages of the victims ranged from 11 to 72 and two children were among the dead.  74 people were injured.

Reports suggested the bomber was wearing a suicide belt, but the authorities said he was carrying the explosives in a bag.  Ball bearings had been packed around the device in order to maximise casualties.  Hamas later claimed responsibility, saying that their 'martyr' had sent "one of the Zionist buses to hell".  They named the bomber as 22-year-old Muhammad al-Ghoul, a student from Nablus in the West Bank.  The Israeli authorities had been warned of an imminent attack, but al-Ghoul somehow evaded the security operation and slipped into Jerusalem the night before.

The mangled remains of the bus at Patt junction

17 of the 19 fatalities were from the local neighbourhood of Gilo and were on their way to school or work.  The 19 dead were named as follows.

Boaz Aluf, 54, of Jerusalem.  An IT worker, survived by his wife and five children.
Shani Avi-Zedek, 15, of Jerusalem.  A schoolgirl, survived by her parents and three brothers.
Leah Baruch, 59, of Jerusalem.  A housekeeper, divorced, she was survived by her two daughters
Mendel Bereson, 72, of Jerusalem.  A shoemaker, survived by his wife, two children and three grandchildren.
Rafael Berger, 28, of Jerusalem.  A student and army reservist, he was survived by his wife.
Michal Biazi, 24, of Jerusalem.  Survived by her husband.  Michal did not normally travel by bus, but on her way to work at the Ministry of Tourism she remembered that she had left her bag at home.  Her husband drove back to collect her bag while she caught the bus to avoid being late for work.
Tatiana Braslavsky, 41, of Jerusalem.  An engineer, survived by her husband and son.
Galila Bugala, 11, of Jerusalem.  A schoolgirl, survived by her parents and older brother.
Raisa Dikstein, 67, of Jerusalem.  A mature student, she was single.
Dr Moshe Gottlieb, 70, of Jerusalem.  A chiropractor, survived by his wife, two children and 12 grandchildren.
Baruch Gruani, 60, of Jerusalem.  Retired, he was visiting a friend and was survived by his wife and four children.
Orit Hayla, 21, of Jerusalem.  A sales rep, single.
Helena Ivan, 63, of Jerusalem.  A housekeeper, single, she was survived by her son.
Iman Kabha, 26, of Barta.  The only Arab victim, a student, single.
Gila Nakav, 55, of Jerusalem.  An office worker, she was survived by her three daughters and a grandson.
Shiri Negari, 21, of Jerusalem.  A bank worker, single.
Dr Yelena Plagov, 42, of Jerusalem.  A GP, she was survived by her husband and three children.
Liat Yagen, 24 of Jerusalem.  An office worker, single.
Rahamim Zidkiyahu, 51, of Jerusalem.  The driver of the bombed bus, he was survived by his wife, their three children and a daughter from a previous marriage.

The faces of the 19 dead

Two Palestinians from Jabel Mukaber in Jerusalem were later convicted of transporting a suicide bomber in relation to the Patt junction attack.

A Jewish charity arranged for the bus wreckage to be transported to New York where it became an exhibit to raise awareness of the carnage of suicide bombings.  The charity's name was ZAKA, translated as Disaster Victim Identification.  They are volunteers who painstakingly recover remains of blood, flesh and bone from bomb sites so they can be buried in accordance with Jewish law.