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Lives of cafe patrons dashed in Purim eve suicide bombing

JERUSALEM, March 24 (JTA) — Yaffa Levy was already too familiar with terrorist attacks. Her son, Yovav, was one of the 13 killed in the March 1996 suicide bombing at Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Center. As a result of that tragedy, which occurred close to the Purim holiday, she and her husband decided to have another child. Last Friday, a pregnant Yaffa Levy was in the Cafe Apropos in downtown Tel Aviv when a suicide bomber carrying an explosive in a duffel bag walked in, killing three Israelis and wounding dozens more. Levy was wounded, but luckily, she survived. And hours later, she gave birth to another son, Matan. Others wounded in the attack, which again came shortly before Purim, were also no strangers to such violence. Adi Nissim, a Tel Aviv resident who rides through the city’s streets as part of his work as a messenger, had survived two previous suicide bombings in the city. In both of those attacks, he was not injured, and he helped the wounded before rescue and security teams came. “Fate must be on my side, and for that reason I’m saved each time,” Nissim said. Not everyone was so fortunate, however. Two of those killed in the 1:45 p.m. blast were Anat Rosen-Winter, 31, a lawyer, and Yael Gilad, 32, a social worker, both of Tel Aviv. The two friends had made a date to meet at the cafe. Gilad’s twin sister, Michal, was also supposed to have met them. Minutes before the blast, Yael phoned her sister and told her to hurry because they were already ordering. Michal Gilad, the twin sister, was on her way to the restaurant when the bomb went off. She heard the explosion from her car. Rosen-Winter had brought along her 6-month-old daughter, Shani, who was moderately wounded in the explosion. When Rosen-Winter’s parents saw television footage of the attack, they recognized their wounded granddaughter, who was dressed in a clown costume for Purim, being carried off by police. They went immediately to the hospital, where they learned of Rosen- Winter’s death. Also killed in the explosion was Michal Medan-Avrahami, a 31-year-old doctor who lived in Herzliya. Medan-Avrahami, who was 16 weeks pregnant, had gone to the cafe with her husband, mother-in-law and niece. Taken to a nearby hospital, Medan-Avrahami later died of her wounds. Her husband, Shai, was also wounded, but could not attend his wife’s funeral because he was recuperating from his injuries. Reflecting on the attack, Moshe Gilad, the father of Yael Gilad, said: “I want the peace process to continue so that there will be no more tragedies such as this one.” (JTA correspondent Gil Sedan in Jerusalem contributed to this report.)