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Terrorists Ambush Bus Carrying El Al Staff

(August 20, 1978)

On August 20, 1978, terrorists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) ambushed a bus carrying El Al staff on a stopover in London to their hotel. As the passengers exited the coach two men appeared and opened fire with sub-machine guns and threw hand grenades. Two people, one a flight attendant, were killed and nine injured.

One man, believed to be one of the terrorists, was found dead at the scene. A second, Fahad Mihyi, was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment. A third was thought to have escaped.

In 2000, Yulie Cohen Gerstel, one of the flight attendants injured in the attack, contacted Mihyi who was imprisoned at Dartmoor Prison. Mihyi apologized for his role in the terrorist attack and Gerstel subsequently advocated for his parole as shown in her 2002 documentary My Terrorist.

“I had felt so much fear and hate and guilt and trauma, that to meet the person who had created these emotions was to let go of them,” she said.

Sources: “1978 London bus attack,” Wikipedia.
“1978: Two dead after El Al crew ambushed,” BBC, (August 20, 1978).
Naomi Pfefferman, “‘Terrorist’ Helped Israeli Heal,” Jewish Journal, (May 29, 2003).

Photo: Eduard Marmet, CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL 1.2, via Wikimedia Commons.