Wednesday 4 September 2019


Hamas bombed a busy pedestrian street in Jerusalem, killing five Israelis and injuring more than 180.  The co-ordinated attack involved three suicide bombers who struck just after 15:00 when the street was busy with afternoon shoppers.  The attackers dispersed along the street and blew themselves up within seconds of each other.  Eight people were severely wounded and three 14-year-old girls were among the dead, including two best friends and the daughter of an Israeli peace activist.

Each bomber carried around five pounds of explosive with nuts, bolts and nails packed around the device in order to maximise casualties.  One of the bombers was reportedly disguised as a woman and approached a group of girls just before the attack.  A witness later described how he grabbed one of them, but there was a struggle and when people came to her aid he blew himself up.

The Hamas bombers all came from the West Bank village of Asira ash-Shamaliya.  Two Hamas members were later convicted of planning the massacre.  Six years later a landmark judgment in the US ordered the state of Iran to pay compensation to the victims.  The claimants were US citizens injured in the blasts and they had argued that Iran shared responsibility in its capacity as a state sponsor of Hamas.  The Iranians did not participate in the lawsuit and rejected its authority.

Memorial plaque to the victims
Those who were killed in the 1997 Ben Yehuda Street bombings were:

Yael Botwin, 14, of Jerusalem
Smadar Elhanan, 14, of Jerusalem
Rami Kozashvili, 20, of Jerusalem
Eliahu Markowitz, 40, of Jerusalem
Sivan Zarka, 14, of Jerusalem