Bomb Silences Jazz Session at Mike's Place

Roni Singer-Heruti
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Roni Singer-Heruti

Three people were killed and dozens wounded in a suicide bombing early yesterday morning during the weekly jazz session at Mike's Place, a pub located across from the beachfront on Herbert Samuel Street in Tel Aviv.

The pub is located close to the United States Embassy, and is popular with tourists staying at nearby hotels. The embassy was not damaged in the blast.

One of the people wounded in the attack is listed in critical condition and five others were seriously injured. Eleven of the wounded are IDF soldiers and two are tourists.

Two men and one woman were killed in the blast: Yanai Weiss, 46, from Holon, was a musician who had been playing at the pub; Ran Baron, 23, from Tel Aviv; and Dominique Caroline Hess, 29, an immigrant from France who lived in Tel Aviv.

Yoav Jibri was sitting in the bar when the bomb exploded. "It was an improvisation evening and I sat with a few friends pretty close to the band. Suddenly there was an explosion. I saw a strong light and lots of smoke. People started to scream and I saw wounded people around me."

Yitzhak Sheini, a volunteer with the Zaka rescue organization, usually is called to the scene of terror attacks after they have occurred. But this time he just happened to be there when the bomb exploded.

"I suddenly saw this flash of light and heard the explosion. I asked myself, `What is this?' and looked around and saw the body of a terrorist. Then I understood that it was an attack. It was terrible, dozens of people ran out, their skin full of burns and bleeding."

The bomber, who was also killed in the blast, set off the explosives at the entrance to the pub after the security guard on duty at the door physically prevented him from entering.

The security guard was seriously wounded in the blast, and is receiving treatment at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv.

"A suicide bomber blew himself up at Mike's Place bar on the seafront walkway," said Tel Aviv police commander Yossi Sedbon. "The attacker did not succeed in getting into the bar." Sedbon said that the bomber was carrying a medium-size bomb packed with nails and other shrapnel.

The bomb blew the front off the bar and wrecked furniture inside. The owner of the bar, Gal Ganzman, his shirt covered with blood, said he was standing behind the bar when he heard the explosion. "I'm alive, I'm fine," he said. "One of the waitresses lost an arm but she's still alive. The boom was just outside the entrance. The security guard must have stopped him."