Neve Shalom Synagogue massacre

The Neve Shalom Synagogue massacre happened on 6 September 1986 when a group of suspected Abu Nidal Organization terrorists killed 22 worshipers inside the Neve Shalom Synagogue in Istanbul, Turkey.

Neve Shalom Synagogue massacre
Part of the Arab–Israeli conflict
The Neve Shalom Synagogue
LocationNeve Shalom Synagogue, Istanbul, Turkey
DateSeptember 6, 1986
PerpetratorsAbu Nidal Organization (suspected)
No. of participants

Attack Edit

The pair of gunmen stormed the synagogue around 9:17 in the morning of 6 September 1986,[1] when the worshippers were reciting the Shabbat parasha.[2] The terrorists entered on the men's side of the mechitza where they opened fire on the crowd with machine guns and then doused the bodies of the dead and injured with gasoline, which they lit on fire.[3][4] Witnesses said they heard the gunmen speaking Arabic among themselves.

The attackers took out "extremely powerful" grenades and blew themselves apart, killing themselves and disfiguring their bodies so hard that investigators were unable to identify who they were.[3][5] The grenades set off a fire in the building that lasted several hours.

By the end of the massacre, 22 people had been killed. The victims ranged in age from 30 to 82.[3] Three of the people killed were Persian Jews, including an Iranian-born rabbi.[6] Around two dozen were wounded, including four women hit by splinters in the women's gallery.[7]

Aftermath Edit

Two previously unknown Lebanese groups both separately claimed responsibility for the massacre, but the authenticity of the claims have been doubted.[7] The Palestinian Abu Nidal Organization, although it never claimed responsibility, was widely suspected of perpetrating the attack.[3][5] Turkish police suspected the shooting was done by Abu Nidal but with the assistance of other groups, which it believed were likely Iran, Libya and Syria.[3]

All the victims were buried in the Ulus Ashkenazi Jewish Cemetery.[1][8]

Reactions Edit

The Neve Shalom massacre was widely condemned in Turkey and internationally. The Cabinet of Turkey arranged a special session shortly after on Prime Minister Turgut Özal's orders, who described the incident as "heinous" and "odious assault." Jewish synagogues and institutions were provided heavy security in fear of another attack.[7] President of the United States Ronald Reagan wrote a letter to the Jewish community of Istanbul sharply condemning the massacre.[9]

Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres denounced the attack as "beastly" and vowed "not [to] rest until we cut off this murderous hand."[7] Simon Wiesenthal Center associate dean Abraham Cooper said the massacre was a "resurrect[ion of] the imagery and savagery of the Holocaust."[10]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b "Neve Shalom Sephardi Synagogues Foundation | Terrorist Attacks". Retrieved 2022-05-22.
  2. ^ "Istanbul's Neve Shalom Massacre: How the 'Oasis of Peace' Turned Into a Scene of Savagery". Retrieved 2022-05-22.
  3. ^ a b c d e Miller, Judith (1987-01-04). "The Istanbul Synagogue Massacre". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-05-22.
  4. ^ "Bır 6 Eylül 1986 Özetı: Barış vahasında duran saat, delik sandalye ve kara mermerde yanan yıldız". Şalom Gazetesi (in Turkish). Retrieved 2022-05-22.
  5. ^ a b "This Day in Jewish History / A Suicide Attack Strikes an Istanbul Synagogue". Haaretz. Retrieved 2022-05-22.
  6. ^ "The Neve Shalom Synagogue Massacre in Turkey". Retrieved 2022-05-22.
  7. ^ a b c d "Bloodiest Synagogue Massacre Since Nazi Era: Abu Nidal Gang Tagged As Killers of 21 Sabbath Worshipp". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved 2022-05-22.
  8. ^ "Neve Shalom Victims Commemorated on the 34th Year Anniversary". Retrieved 2022-05-22.
  9. ^ "Message to the Turkish Jewish Community on the Massacre at Neve Shalom Synagogue in Istanbul". Ronald Reagan. Retrieved 2022-05-22.
  10. ^ Kendall, John (1986-09-09). "A Bloody Weekend: The Terror and the Tragedy : Services Conducted at Wiesenthal Center for Jews Slain in Istanbul". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2022-05-22.