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Jaffa Road bus bombings

Commemorative plaque for those who died in the March 3, 1996 bus bombing on Jaffa Road

The Jaffa Road bus bombings were terrorist attacks on two No. 18 buses in Jerusalem, Israel, in 1996. Hamas suicide bombers killed 45 people in the attacks,[1] which were masterminded by Mohammed Deif, using explosives prepared by Adnan Awul.[2] These two bombings, within a few days of each other, occurred during a Hamas offensive launched after the killing of Yahya Ayyash, which also included the French Hill neighborhood attack, a suicide bombing in Ashkelon, and a terrorist attack near Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv.

First bombingEdit

Jaffa Road bus bombing (February 25, 1996)
Aftermath of the Jaffa Road bus bombings
DateFebruary 25, 1996
Attack type
suicide bomber
Deaths17 Israeli civilians
9 Israeli soldiers (+ 1 suicide bomber)
48 mostly civilians
PerpetratorsPalestinian assailant, trained, armed, and supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran.[3] Hamas claimed responsibility.

On the morning of February 25, 1996, a suicide bomber blew himself up on a No.18 bus traveling down Jaffa Road near the Jerusalem Central Bus Station. 17 civilians and 9 Israeli soldiers were killed and 48, mostly civilians, injured.

In 2014 journalist Mike Kelly published The Bus on Jaffa Road; A Story of Middle East Terrorism and the Search for Justice. Kirkus Reviews praised it as, "a spiral of horror and reckoning".[4]

According to Kelly, Yassir Arafat was aware of these planned bombings.[5]

Attack plannerEdit

Hamas operative Hassan Salameh was captured by Israel in Hebron in May, 1996.[6] Israel, which has only once imposed a death penalty, sentenced Salameh to 46 consecutive life sentences for directing 3 mass-casualty attacks.[7] Salameh, a devout Muslim, has continued to maintain that he acted in a righteous manner in bombing civilian buses, saying, ""I believe what I did is a legitimate right my religion and all of the world gave me..." in 1997,[8] and in an interview almost 2 decades later.[5] According to Mike Kelly, Salameh was trained in Iran.[5]

Second bombingEdit

Jaffa Road bus bombing
(March 3, 1996)
DateMarch 3, 1996
Attack type
suicide bomber
Deaths16 Israeli civilians
3 Israeli soldiers (+ 1 suicide bomber)
7 civilians
PerpetratorsLone Palestinian assailant (Mohammed Abdo).[9] Hamas claimed responsibility.

On the morning of March 3, 1996, a suicide bomber boarded another No. 18 bus, detonating an explosive belt that killed 16 civilians and three Israeli soldiers and wounded 7.

Legal actionEdit

The families of United States victims Matthew Eisenfeld and Sarah Duker sued Iran for backing the attack, and won a US$327 million judgment in 2000.[10] The Clinton Administration then blocked the families' efforts to seize certain Iranian assets in the United States.[10] As of 2006 collection efforts continue through legal process.[10] The families, together with the family of another United States citizen killed in the same attack, now seek as much as US$900 million from Iran.[10] In 2006 an Italian court domesticated the US court ruling, and temporarily froze Iranian assets.[10] The plaintiffs have stated that they intend to pursue Iran through other European Union courts.[10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Suicide and Other Bombing Attacks in Israel Since the Declaration of Principles (Sept 1993). Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  2. ^ Terrorists Recently Released by the Palestinian Authority – 12-Oct-2000. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  3. ^ Kelly, Michael (2014). Bus on Jaffa Road: A Story of Middle East Terrorism and the Search for Justice. Lyons Press. pp. 164–179.
  4. ^ Kirkus (October 7, 2014). "The Bus on Jaffa Road; A Story of Middle East Terrorism and the Search for Justice". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Leichman, Abigail Klein (October 7, 2014). "A Search for Justice". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  6. ^ Inquirer (May 19, 1996). "Israel Arrests A Hamas Leader Hassan Salameh Was Shot And Wounded In A Chase. He Is Believed To Have Planned Three Of This Year's Bombings". The Philadelphia Inquirer. INQUIRER WIRE SERVICES. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  7. ^ TribuneNews (July 8, 1997). "Israel Gives Islamic Radical 46 Life Sentences In Bombings". Chicago Tribune. Tribune News Services.
  8. ^ LoLordo, Ann (March 31, 1997). "Hamas' deadly defender Accused terrorist is a pariah to Israel, hero to Palestinians". The Baltimore Sun. Sun Foreign Staff. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  9. ^ Katz, 279
  10. ^ a b c d e f Horovitz, David (April 28, 2006). "Vicky and Leonard take on Iran". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved December 21, 2018.

External linksEdit