TEL AVIV (Feb. 5)
Five people were killed and 21 were injured last night in a hand grenade attack on a crowded Netanya discotheque that police attributed to an underworld gang war. The victims were mostly soldiers on leave and their girlfriends who were dancing or sitting at tables when the attack occurred shortly before midnight.
Police said the grenade, an Israel-army type, was thrown through an air vent from the outside of the club and exploded in the middle of the dance floor. The heavy casualties were due to the relatively small size of the room.
The injured, about half of them women, were taken to Hillel Yoffe Hospital in private cars and taxis commandeered by police. The dead were identified as Shulamit Buaron, 19; Ariella Ashram, 24; Esther Levi, 19, a member of the women’s army corp; Joseph Tibi, 19; and Rafi Maimon, a soldier and son of one of the owners of the discotheque.
Police, who have set up a special unit to investigate the attack, discounted the possibility that it was another terrorist outrage. They said it bore the ear marks of the war being waged between rival gangs involved in a protection racket aimed at night clubs and discotheques.