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2 Killed, More Than 50 Injured in Bomb Explosion in Netanya

January 29, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A bomb exploded in Netanya’s crowded Zion Square this morning killing two persons and injuring more than 50, at least 11 of them seriously. The fatalities, a man and a woman, were not immediately identified. The other victims, including women and children, were rushed to hospitals in Netanya, Kfar Saba, Hodera and as for as Haifa. A two year-old child and four other persons were on the critical list tonight.

U.S. Ambassador Samuel Lewis issued a statement this evening, condemning the attack and offered condolences to the victims and their families. It was the first time the American Embassy issued such a statement in advance of one from the State Department.

EI Fatah, the terrorist arm of the Palestine Liberation Organization, claimed credit for the outrage. It praised the perpetrators who it identified is members of the Ali Hassan Salameh unit. The implication was that the bomb attack in Netanya was an act of revenge for the death of arch-terrorist Salameh and four of his aides by a bomb in Beirut last week.

According to police, the Netanya bomb containing about a half kilogram of high explosives was concealed in a trash can. It detonated at 10:35 a.m. local time when the main square of the city was crowded with pedestrians, mothers with their children and patrons of outdoor cafes enjoying an unseasonably mild, sunny day. Windows throughout the area were shattered by the blast causing many injuries by flying splinters of glass. One baby was hospitalized with a bomb fragment in His back. The mother was also injured.

Police aided by volunteers began administering to the injured and evacuating the area within minutes of the explosion. The city’s seven ambulances rushed victims to hospitals. The Landiado maternity hospital was converted into an emergency treatment center.


The bombing was one of the worst terrorist acts to hit Netanya, a seaside resort city and center of the diamond polishing industry. Security sources said Netanya was probably targeted by the terrorists because the discovery of an El Farah cell in the Jerusalem area last week aborted their plans for new outrages in the capital.

The arrests of eight terrorists at Abu-Dis village near Jerusalem, announced last Friday, yielded information that bombs were about to be placed in the center of Jerusalem and at Gethsemane, a major tourist site in the city. Large quantities of arms and explosives were found buried under a garage in Abu-Dis. Police said the Abu-Dis gang was the one responsible for bombing the Mahane Yehuda market In Jerusalem last June 28 where two people were killed and scores injured.

Other of its terrorist acts included planting a bomb at a Jerusalem fuel depot which killed the American-born Jerusalem police sapper, Steve Holms, last year; planting a bomb on a No. 12 bus in Jerusalem; planting bombs in tourist buses and outside the Holy Land Hotel near Jaffa Gates. and concealing a bomb in a divan abandoned on a Jerusalem main street. The gang may also have been responsible for the large bomb concealed in the trunk of a car parked on a busy Jerusalem street one morning two weeks ago.

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