Rishon Lezion: Real victims and false reports

May 10, 2002


1. "Hamas says Israelis killed in Rishon Lezion bombing were soldiers" (IAP News, May 8, 2002)
2. "Palestinians in Lebanon cheer news of Rishon bombing" (Jerusalem Post & news agencies, May 9, 2002)
3. Victims of the Rishon Lezion pool hall attack

[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach the following:

(1) A news story about the Rishon Lezion pool hall bombing circulated to newspapers in the Arab world by the Islamic Press Agency (www.iap.org). The reason I attach this is to show that according to this and other Arab press reports the 16 dead Israelis were all soldiers. Attacking soldiers is of course permitted according to Yasser Arafat's latest pronouncements.

(2) Palestinians in Lebanon cheer news of Rishon bombing (The Jerusalem Post and press agencies). In the Sidon fruit and vegetable market, television screens were provided in order to keep the market's customers on top of "the latest reports on the successful operation."

(3) The actual details of the victims of the Rishon attack, which I have compiled. They were, of course, all civilians. If you take time to read them, you will see that most were working class Sephardi Jews.

-- Tom Gross



Hamas says Israelis killed in Rishon Lezion bombing were soldiers
IAP News
May 8, 2002

Occupied Jerusalem: The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, on Wednesday defended the martyr operation bombing at a pool hall in the Israeli city of Rishon Lezion (south east of Tel Aviv), saying the bomber killed soldiers.

"No Israeli children or women were killed, only soldiers and reserve soldiers were targeted," said a Hamas source in the West Bank Wednesday.

"We have every right to retaliate for Israel's genocidal massacres against our people. The world was utterly silent when Israel's terrorist army was murdering our civilians and destroying our cities."

Hamas has not officially declared responsibility for the bombing which comes in the aftermath the murder by Israeli soldiers of a Palestinian mother, her two children and a third child in the northern West Bank.

However, the Lebanese Islamic satellite Television station, al Manar, reported that it had received a telephone call from an anonymous person, who claimed to be speaking for Hamas, saying the movement's military wing carried out the operation.

In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Mahmoud Al-Zahar said the attack in Tel Aviv was a natural retaliation for a series of Israeli massacres in Palestinian towns and refugee camps in recent weeks.

Asked if he was not worried the attack would turn the world public opinion against the Palestinians, al-Zahar said the world did nothing to protect the Palestinians from Israeli crimes.

"Where was the world when (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon committed the carnage at Jenin? The world couldn't even send a mission to investigate Sharon's crimes at the refugee camp," said al-Zahar during an interview with the Arabic service of the BBC Wednesday.



Palestinians in Lebanon cheer news of Rishon bombing
The Jerusalem Post Internet Staff and news agencies
May 9, 2002

Hamas followers in Ein al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp responded with cheers after hearing reports of the suicide bombing near Tel Aviv that resulted in the deaths of 15 Israelis, the Beirut-based Daily Star reported.

Cars equipped with loud-speakers toured Ein al-Hilweh broadcasting news of the attack alongside popular marches. Candy and Arabic sweets were handed out to passing motorists and students to celebrate Tuesday's attack.

One Palestinian refugee shouted during the celebration: "Long live Hamas - it is our only salvation."

Meanwhile, in the neighboring Sidon fruit and vegetable market, television screens were provided in order to keep the market's customers on top of "the latest reports on the successful operation."



Victims of the Rishon Lezion pool hall attack

* Nir Lobatin, 29, was married and his wife is expecting twins. He owned a cleaning service. His wife collapsed on hearing the news of his death and had to be hospitalized.

* Edna Cohen, 61, was celebrating her 44th wedding anniversary at the club when she was killed. Her husband, Avraham, 63, was seriously injured. Edna is survived by four children and 11 grandchildren.

* Rahamim Kimche, a taxi driver, who had already lost a leg in a previous attack. On Tuesday night, he had gone to pick up a fare from the pool club. When the customer did not come down, Kimche went to look for him and was killed by the blast. He leaves a wife, three children and two grandchildren.

* Pnina Hickri, 63, a Tel Aviv housewife and mother of four children.

* Sharuch Rassan, 60, owned a store that sells Jewish religious articles. He was born in Iran and immigrated to Israel in 1974 with his wife, Shaku, who was injured in the Rishon bomb attack.

* Shoshana Magmari, 51, worked as a caregiver, but was on vacation after having completed treatment for cancer. She is survived by her husband, three children and five grandchildren.

* Rafael Haim, 46, worked in a wholesale market, where he unloaded fresh produce that he delivered by truck. A Jewish refugee from Iraq, he arrived in Israel aged 11. He is survived by his wife, six children and 16 grandchildren.

* Dalia Massa, 56, worked as a cook at the WIZO youth village outside Rishon Lezion. She became a widow two years ago. She is survived by her daughter, a student at Tel Aviv University.

* Yisrael Shikar, 49, is survived by his parents, wife, three children, a grandson and two brothers.

* Avi Baiz, 26, was a coffee shop manager in a shopping mall located near the Rishon Lezion pool hall. His friend, Tomer Sasson, was seriously injured in the attack. Baiz is survived by his parents and three brothers.

* Anat Tremporush, a mother of three. Her husband, Danny, her mother, Hannah Almasi, 62, and her sister, Batsheva, were all injured in the attack.

* Yitzhak Bablar, 57, and his wife, Esther, 54, of Bat Yam

* Nawa Hinawi, 51, of Tel Aviv

* Malka Regina Boslan, 62, of Jaffa.

* 32 other victims of the bombing remain hospitalized. Two of the injured women have since died.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.