IN PHOTOS: Sites of Horrific Suicide Bombings in Israel, Revisited

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The Sbarro bombing in Jerusalem in 2001.
The Sbarro bombing in Jerusalem in 2001.Credit: Eyal Warshavsky

The Dolphinarium attack, June 1, 2001

The death toll was 21 and more than 120 were wounded when 22-year-old terrorist Saeed Hotari blew himself up just before midnight on a Friday night next to a line of young people waiting to get into the Dolphinarium nightclub in Tel Aviv. The Dolphinarium complex, on the seafront in south Tel Aviv, opened in the 1980s as a marine park. It failed and closed down, being replaced by movie theaters and nightclubs. It never recovered after the terror attack. The Tel Aviv Municipality has approved a plan in principle to raze the structures to make way for public space.

Photos: Michael Kramer/Yedioth Ahronoth/AFP and Moti Milrod

Matza Restaurant attack, March 31, 2002

During Passover week, a terrorist from Jenin entered the Matza Restaurant in Haifa – a 40-year-old fixture in the northern city – and detonated a suicide bomb. Fourteen people were killed immediately and about 40 were wounded. One of the wounded died the next day and another died of his wounds seven years later. The military wing of Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. The restaurant eventually reopened. The present owner, Zuhir Adawi, whose parents operated the restaurant in 2002, said they reopened the restaurant for business some 40 days after the attack.

Photos: Saban Nextrand and Rami Shllush

Park Hotel attack, March 27, 2002

On Passover eve in 2002, a suicide bomber entered the dining room of the Park Hotel in Netanya, where some 250 people were celebrating the Passover seder. The powerful blast killed 30 people, wounded 150 and demolished the dining room. Following the attack – considered the worst-ever terror attack in Israel’s history – Israel Defense Forces reserves were called up and Operation Defensive Shield was launched. One of the hotel’s owners, Arik Cohen, said, “We reopened the hotel a month later, but nobody came for nearly a year.” According to Cohen, the impact of the attack is not felt on a daily basis, but that even 15 years on, it is still difficult to market the hotel on Passover.

Photos: Ariel Shalit and Tomer Appelbaum

Sheffield Club Pool Hall attack, May 7, 2002

Fifteen people were killed and dozens more wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up in the Sheffield Club Pool Hall in the industrial zone of Rishon Letzion. Moshe Yamin, one of its owners, said the pool hall and most other businesses in the building never reopened. “At the time, the city appointed an engineer to check the building. He concluded that the floor which was damaged [the third floor] had to be removed, because the roof rose and fell back down from the shock wave of the blast.” A small commemoration sign bearing the names of the dead was installed across the street.

Photos: Gil Cohen-Magen / Reuters and David Bachar

Sbarro Pizzeria attack, August 9, 2001

Suicide bomber Izz al-Din al-Masri, 22, entered the Sbarro Pizzeria in the heart of downtown Jerusalem with a large explosive charge hidden inside a classical guitar, killing 15 people and wounding 130. The attack was particularly etched in the memory because five members of the same family, the Schijveschuurder family, were killed – the parents and three of their children, ages 14, 4 and 2 – and because Israel closed Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem after the attack. But it was also symbolic because it took place at a site Jerusalemites would define as the very heart of the city – on the corner of King George Street and Jaffa Road.

Sbarro Pizzeria was renovated and reopened after the attack. But it closed in 2010 and a thriving branch of Neeman Bakery opened in its place.

The busy intersection has changed a lot since the attack. The buses have been replaced by the light rail, and the area became quieter and greener. Thousands of Jerusalemites pass the site every day, but the only evidence of the attack is a memorial stone with the names of those killed.

Photos: Eyal Warshavsky/Lior Mizrahi

Café Apropo attack, March 21, 1997

On Purim, a suicide bomber blew himself up in Café Apropos on Ben-Gurion Boulevard in Tel Aviv, killing three women and injuring dozens more people. The café is no longer there, but a monument by the artist Eliezer Weishoff commemorating those who lost their lives in the attack can be found on the boulevard, near Beit Hanna (a community center run by the municipality).

Photos: Moti Kimchi and Moti Milrod

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