HADERA, Israel (Oct. 27)
Surrounded by scattered apples and onions, the blue-and-white checkered blanket covered most of the body lying on the pavement. But it was not quite long enough to cover the body’s feet. The body belonged to one of the five victims murdered by a suicide bomber’s explosives in the Hadera market on Wednesday — among them an Israeli Arab who taught Hebrew in nearby schools and a retired factory worker who was watching his friend’s vegetable shop.
The bomber detonated himself on a street lined with towering eucalyptus trees in front of one of Hadera’s oldest and most popular falafel stands, Falafel Barzilai. After the bombing, the awning over the stand was left burned to shreds, and parsley and green onions spilled out from upturned plastic crates.
“I saw an ear, a head, an hand and the body of an old woman in a dress, her face covered in blood,” said Idan Akiva, 23, who raced to the scene from his home just two blocks away.
The bomber was identified as Hassan Abu Zayd, 20. He was reportedly freed from Israeli prison recently as part of a prisoner release because he had not killed any Israelis.
Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it came in retaliation for Israel’s killing of one of the group’s leaders, Luay Saadi, on Sunday in the West Bank.
Near the scene of the bombing, locals gathered to get a closer look. Some were yeshiva students, others were parents with young children. Among them was Yigal Cohen, 43, whose father’s vegetable stand stood next door to the falafel stand. His father had left shortly before the bombing to attend the memorial service for his own father at a nearby cemetery. The father’s friend, Ya’akov Rahmani, 68, had agreed to watch the stand. He was killed in the blast.
Cohen stood behind the police tape and looked at the destruction, his eyes wide and unbelieving.
“I usually come to the market and see friends and family and people I have always known. I sometimes come to help my father out and now I see all this,” he said, his voice trailing off. “I grew up here, everyone knows each other.”
Mimi Shosha, a 56-year-old secretary, surveyed the smoldering market, shattered glass covering its sidewalks.
“We are scared to go out in a situation like this, but despite everything we continue on,” she said.
As she spoke, forensic workers in white jumpsuits picked through spilled vegetables and debris, collecting evidence. Swarms of police and border police blocked off the area. Slowly the bodies were placed in plastic white bags and quietly hoisted onto ambulances.
The five dead included Jamil Ka’adan, 48, of the Arab town of Baka Al-Gharbiye. The father of five taught Hebrew. He was at the market Wednesday after deciding to go to the bank before heading home.
Sabiha Nisim, 66, from Moshav Ahitov, retired recently and was in the market to get a falafel when the bomb went off, killing her. Her husband, Aharon, reportedly hugged her body and would not leave the market until he was taken away by emergency workers. Nisim was the mother of six children and had eight grandchildren.
One of the dead in Hadera, a city with a large population of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, was Mikhail Koifman, 68, who immigrated to Israel in 1993 from Uzbekistan. He is survived by his wife, two children and grandchildren.
Pirhia Mahlouf, 53, a bank employee was also killed in the bombing. She had been in the market to shop for a meal for her two daughters who were about to begin college.