Friday 9 August 2019


Hamas bombed a pizza restaurant in Jerusalem, killing 15 people.  The Sbarro restaurant was situated at a busy crossroads and was popular with families.  A pregnant woman and seven children were among the dead.  The suicide bomber struck just before the end of the lunchtime rush, entering the restaurant just before 2pm and detonating his bomb.  The device was estimated to weigh between 5-10kg and was concealed in a guitar case along with nails, nuts and bolts in order to maximise death and injury.

The 15 fatalities were aged between 2 and 60 and included two visitors to the country.  130 people were injured, including 15-year-old Miriam Shosham who miraculously survived despite being struck by 60 nails and suffering third degree burns to 40 per cent of her body.  Her ten-year-old sister Yocheved was killed instantly.  31-year-old Chana Nachenberg was left in a permanent vegetative state.  Her three-year-old daughter survived the bombing and wrote about the attack 12 years later:  "Twelve years ago, my mother and I were in the Sbarro restaurant terror attack in Jerusalem.  My mom was critically injured and since then she has been in a vegetative state.  She is on a respirator 24/7 and she does not communicate at all.  She is in the hospital, connected to many different machines that keep her alive.  My mother didn’t die, but I lost her forever".

The remains of the Sbarro restaurant

The bomber was named as 22-year-old Izzadin al-Masri from the West Bank.  His device was built by Hamas commander Abdullah Barghouti.  Barghouti was apprehended by Israeli security forces in 2003 and sentenced to 67 life terms for his role in a series of bombings which left 66 dead.  This was a record sentence and when it came to the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap in 2011, Barghouti was one of the terrorists that Israel refused to release.  However, al-Masri's female accomplice was part of the exchange.

Ahlam Tamimi was a university student and part-time journalist.  The 20-year-old surveyed the area and identified the target prior to driving al-Masri to the restaurant.  To avoid attention she wore Western clothing and the pair spoke in English so as to appear like tourists.  She left the area before al-Masri blew himself up and subsequently reported on the bombing for a Palestinian news channel.  After her arrest she showed no remorse and when she was told that eight children had been killed (including the unborn baby) she responded by grinning (see video below).

After her release in 2011 Tamimi departed for Jordan where she was given a hero's welcome.  She went on to host a TV show on the Hamas-affiliated channel al-Quds.  She remains unrepentant and says that given the choice today she would "do it again".  In 2013 the US Justice Department charged Tamimi over the death of Shoshana Greenbaum, the pregnant US citizen killed in the Sbarra bombing.  However, Jordan refused to agree to the extradition and Tamimi remains at large.

Tamimi has also received thousands of dollars in reward payments from the Palestinian Authority, in accordance with its 'Martyrs Fund'.  The Authority rewards terrorists who attack Israel, and in the case of suicide bombers, their families.  Last year it was reported that al-Masri's family had received $50,124, Barghouti $191,526 (in absentia) and Tamimi $52,681.

Just one month after the bombing an exhibition opened in the West Bank town of Nablus in which the aftermath of the bombing was recreated, including smashed tables, fake blood and body parts.  Yasser Arafat quickly ordered its closure.

The 15 fatalities of the Sbarro bombing were:

Giora Balash, 60, from Brazil.  He was in Israel for the marriage of his son.  His wife Flora was injured in the bombing.
Zvika Golombek, 26, from Karmiel.  A student who had recently become engaged, his fiancé was injured in the blast.  He was survived by both his parents, sister and fiancé.
Shoshana Greenbaum, 31, from New Jersey (USA).  An American tourist she was pregnant with her first child.  She was survived by her husband.
Frieda Mendelsohn, 62, from Jerusalem.  Her daughter was injured in the explosion.  She was survived by her husband, six children and 38 grandchildren.
Tehila Maoz, 18, from Jerusalem.  A waitress at the restaurant.  She was shortly to commence her national service.
Michal Raziel, 16, from Jerusalem.  She was with her friend Malka Roth who was also killed.  She was survived by her mother and three older sisters.
Malka Roth, 15, from Jerusalem.  She was with her friend Michal Raziel who was also killed.  She was survived by her parents and six siblings.
Mordechai Schijveschuurder, 43, from Neria.  He died with his wife, son and two daughters.  Two of his other daughters were injured in the bombing.
Tzira Schijveschuurder, 41, from Neria.  She was killed alongside her husband, son and two daughters.  Two other daughters were injured in the explosion.
Avraham Yitzhak Schijveschuurder, 4, from Neria.  He died with his parents and two sisters.
Hemda Schijveschuurder, 2, from Neria.  She died with her parents, brother and sister.
Ra'aya Schijveschuurder, 14, from Neria.  She died with her parents, brother and sister.
Lily Shimashvili, 33, from Jerusalem.  A doctor, her 8-year-old daughter Tamara was also killed in the blast.  She was survived by her husband and son.
Tamara Shimashvili, 8, from Jerusalem.  She was killed alongside her mother Lily.  She was survived by her father and brother.
Yocheved Shoshan, 10, from Jerusalem.  She and her family were seated on the second floor, but she and her sister had gone back downstairs to order more food.  She was killed and her sister was seriously injured.