Funerals Held for 12 Victims of Haifa Suicide Bombing

Twelve of the 19 victims of Saturday's suicide bombing at the Maxim restaurant in Haifa were laid to rest yesterday - 10 of them from families which lost five members each. Seven of the victims were buried on Sunday.

At the cemetery on Kibbutz Yagur, five members of the Zer-Aviv family were buried: Bruria, the matriarch of the family; her son, Bezalel, 30, and his wife, Keren, 29; and their two children, Liran, who was due to celebrate his fourth birthday in kindergarten on Sunday, and Noya, aged just 14 months - were buried. At the request of Keren's parents and siblings, the press did not cover their funerals.

For Yagur, a Galilee farm community of 1,350, the restaurant bombing was the worst calamity to befall it since its founding in 1922. "This is a real blow today. We have buried five people. We have never experienced something like this," said a kibbutz spokesman, Hillel Leviatan. In 1931, 17 years before Israel's founding, three kibbutz members died in an attack on their settlement by Arab gunmen, and some of its elderly residents still remember the pain of that event. "But in our more than 80 years of existence, we never knew such tragedy" as the Haifa bombing, Leviatan said.

In the terror victims' section of the Haifa cemetery, where Mark and Naomi Biano were buried Sunday, thousands attended the funerals of five members of the Almog-Staier family. In adjacent graves, the bodies of the grandfather, Ze'ev Almog, his wife, Ruth, son Moshe, and grandchildren Tomer Almog and Asaf Staier, were buried. Surviving family members asked that the media not film the funeral.

Among those to eulogize Ze'ev Almog, a former commander of the Haifa naval officers' camp, and his family, was Haifa Mayor Yonah Yahav, who called the Almog family a "wonderful example of the united and restrained nature of the city."

At the Tzur Shalom cemetery in Kiryat Bialik, Irena Sofrin, whose husband Avner and two children were injured in the attack, was laid to rest. At the family's request, the funeral itself was not filmed.

On Kibbutz Afek, Zvi Bahat, a Haifa resident killed in the blast, was buried. Bahat's three-year-old son Hadar was critically wounded, and doctors at Ramban Hospital are still fighting to save his life.

Bahat's wife, Tova, who was lightly injured, managed to go back into the restaurant three times after the explosion, in an attempt to rescue her family. On the first two occasions she came back out carrying a wounded child, but on the third, discovered that her husband has been killed on the spot.

"Please say a prayer for us," Bahat said, choking on tears in an interview on Army Radio.

Bahat said she has not had the heart to tell her six-year-old daughter, Inbar, who was slightly wounded, that her father, was killed. "She keeps bursting out crying because she thinks her dad is in hospital," Bahat said.

In addition to Hadar Bahat, 19 others remain in hospital, four of whom, including two children, are in serious condition.