Various news agencies reported that an Arab terrorist blew himself up near a falafel stand in Tel Aviv this afternoon. Latest reports are that eight people have been killed and over 50 wounded. According to Bloomberg.com, Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the attack that occurred at 13:30 in the afternoon in the Neve Sha’anan neighborhood, near the old central bus station.
According to the Jerusalem Post, this was the second suicide attack to take place at Falafel Rosh Ha’ir (Mayor’s Falafel) restaurant, which was targeted four months ago by a suicide bomber from the Islamic Jihad, which together with the Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed responsibility for today’s attack in a video released to Palestinian Authority television. According to Walla, a Hebrew website, Hamas called this an act of self-defense.
For those worried about next of kin who may be in hospital, special hotline numbers for Tel Aviv area hospitals are:
Ichilov Hospital: 972 -3-1255133 – from within Israel dial 03-1255133.
Tel Hashomer: 972-3-1255131 – from within Israel dial 03-1255131.
Beilinson: 972-3-1255134 – from within Israel dial 03-1255134.
Wolfson: 972-3-1255135 – from within Israel dial 03-1255135.
According to the Walla website at 17:15 Summer Time, there hadn’t been a specific alert of a terror attack beforehand (sometimes there is). After the attack occurred, a commercial truck with Arab passengers that had been reported leaving the scene of the attack was stopped by a helicopter and a police vehicle at ‘Ofir Junction on Highway 443 near Giv’at Ze’ev just outside of northwest Jerusalem. The truck’s occupants and contents were searched and even though nothing was found that appeared to link them to the attack, the occupants were still detained and taken for questioning. According to Israel National News, the truck was a blue Mitsubishi that was suspected of carrying the terrorist to the restaurant.
According to Islamic Jihad, the suicide bomber was named Samar Salim Hamad, an operative from Islamic Jihad, from the village of Al ‘Araka near Jenin. The dead terrorist, aged 16, appears to be the youngest Arab terrorist to have perpetrated a suicide bombing until now. But this conflicts with reports given to Israel’s Channel 2 TV by an eyewitness at the scene, Rafi Hayun, who told Israel Radio that the terrorist was a female.
According to Israel National News, due to today’s attack, Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi put the nation on maximum alert, out of concern that the inauguration of the 17th Knesset, scheduled for 16:00 this afternoon, could serve as a pretext for more attacks.
As of Monday afternoon, Israel’s security apparatus was faced with the threat of 19 specific terrorist attacks, warning of an impending attack at a specific time and place. Eighty more general threats of attack have been reported to Israel’s intelligence agencies.
After publication, the death count increased by one – at 20:30 Israel Summer Time
Special note: The writer wishes to thank his sons, Shim’on and Avi, for help in translating the information from the Walla website.