Suicide bomber claims lives of cafe patrons on Purim eve

JERUSALEM, March 23 (JTA) — There were many customers last Friday afternoon at Tel Aviv’s Cafe Apropos, including children dressed in Purim costumes, when the young man carrying a duffel bag weaved his way among the tables. Eyewitnesses later said that the man seemed strange as he looked for an empty table, finally choosing one in the center of the sidewalk area. He put the bag on the chair next to him. It was 1:45 p.m. The shift manager signaled to the waitress to go take his order when the suicide bomber detonated the explosive, killing himself and three women sitting at nearby tables. Dozens of others were wounded in the suicide bombing, the first to rock Israel in a year. Two of the women were later identified as 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. 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, being carried off by police. They went immediately to the hospital, where they learned of Rosen- Winter’s death. Also sitting near the blast 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. Among the dozens wounded in the attack were some Israelis who had been closely touched by previous terrorist attacks in Tel Aviv. Adi Nissim, 30, a Tel Aviv resident who rides through the streets of Tel Aviv as part of his work as a messenger, 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. For Yaffa Levy, who was also wounded in last Friday’s attack, terror had already extracted a dear price. Her son, Yovav, was among the 13 killed in the March 4, 1996, suicide bombing at Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Center, which, like Friday’s attack, occurred on Purim eve. As a result of his death, she and her husband decided to have another child. She gave birth to a son, Matan, last Friday night, several hours after the bombing at the cafe.

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