Shortly before 13:00 on September 19, 2002, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up at the front part of a crowded bus in the heart Tel Aviv’s business district. The attack was carried out on Dan commuter bus No. 4 as the bus was passing through Allenby Street in front of the Great Synagogue of Tel Aviv. Six people were killed and approximately 70 were injured in the attack.
According to the Associated Press, “The shrapnel-studded explosives tore through the bus…while it was passing through the heart of a teeming restaurant and business district at lunchtime. The driver, his body blackened, slumped at the wheel. Passengers jumped out of shattered windows.”
Hamas and Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack, which was part of the Palestinian War that had begun in 2000. “The martyr operations will continue against the Zionists,” said Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a senior political leader of Hamas. “We are defending our people. The resistance will escalate.”
President George Bush strongly condemned the attack and stated, “All parties must do everything they can to reject and stop violence” while EU officials called on Israel to show restraint, suggesting that a harsh Israeli reprisal to the attack by Yasser Arafat’s opponents would ruin efforts made to reform the Palestinian Authority and to secure a ceasefire between the parties.
Following the attack, Israel launched a military operation in the West Bank in which tanks and armored vehicles began a siege on the compound of Yasser Arafat in Ramallah, which continued for nearly two years.
During the fighting from 2000-2005, more than 25,000 attacks were launched against Israelis and nearly 750 were killed, 445 in suicide bombings such as the Allenby incident.
Sources: “Allenby Street bus bombing,” Wikipedia.
“Six killed, scores wounded in suicide attack on Tel Aviv bus,” USA Today, (September 19, 2002).
Serge Schmemann, “Suicide Bomber Kills 5 on a Bus in Tel Aviv,” New York Times, (September 20, 2002).s
Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit via Wikipedia Commons.