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Bus Bomb Toll: Six Dead, 19 Injured

June 5, 1978
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Cabinet opened its weekly meeting this morning with a solemn tribute to the six victims of Friday’s bus blast, five of them youngsters aged 12-18 and an American aged 30. The terrorist bomb that virtually demolished the vehicle as it stopped to discharge passengers near Mr. Herzl and the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, injured 19 persons, some of them passengers and others passersby. The explosion damaged property and shattered windows within a 300 yard radius.

The police made several arrests but as of this morning could report no real progress in apprehending the perpetrators. (Reports from Beirut said a terrorist group called the General Command of the Palestinian Revolution’s Forces claimed credit for the outrage.)

The dead are: Eliahu Lomberger, 12; Ruhama Grossberg, 15; Tamar Goutel, 15; and Aharon Meir Ohrbach, 17, all of Jerusalem; Arye Scheinfeld, 18 of Bnei Brak; and Richard Fishman, 30, of Washington, D.C. One of the injured persons was still in critical condition today and nine others remained hospitalized at the Hadassah Medical Center. The rest were discharged after treatment of their injuries.

The blast occurred on the eve of city-wide celebrations of the 11th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification. Mayor Teddy Kollek announced that the terrorist act would not force cancellation of the festivities which, he said, is apparently what the terrorists wanted.


The fatal bus ride began shortly after noon Friday at Nablus Gate outside the Old City walls. On the long route to Bayit Vagan, a religious suburb, the bus picked up many passengers, most of them students headed for the suburb. At the first stop there, as passengers were alighting, an explosion ripped through the rear of the bus. Eye-witnesses said the rear half flew into the air. They reported seeing dismembered bodies lying in the street. “Like a battlefield,” one witness said. Three persons walking on the sidewalk were injured.

Friday’s blast was the latest in a series of terrorist bombings in the capital and on the West Bank. On February 14, an explosion in a Jerusalem bus killed two persons and injured 35. On April 26, two West German tourists were killed when a bomb exploded in their sightseeing bus in Nablus. In terms of casualties, Friday’s bombing was the worst terrorist outrage since the March II assault on the Tel Aviv-Haifa highway by terrorist gunman who landed on the beach. Thirty-four Israelis and one American were killed and 70 persons were injured.

Interior Minister Yosef Burg proposed today that volunteers be recruited to search all Jerusalem buses for bombs before they begin their trips. He also suggested that volunteers be assigned to ride buses as guards, especially on long routes such as the No. 12 on which Friday’s bombing occurred. Burg proposed further that a joint committee composed of the security forces, police and the volunteer civil guard hold a conference to determine the responsibility of each for the security of Jerusalem.


The American victim, Richard Fishman, had been a student at the University of Maryland Medical School at Baltimore, Md., until last summer when he decided to come to Israel for two years before resuming his medical studies. According to Yediot Achronot he was the son of Fred Fishman, a Federal Judge. His father told Yediot that his son had received a secular education but adopted a religious lifestyle at the age of 23 and became strictly Orthodox. Judge Fishman was quoted as saying that he had warned his son not to ride buses in Israel, except in Jerusalem. According to Yediot, the father was unhappy with his son’s plans to go to Israel because he believes Israel is a dangerous place. “It may be alright for people to run away from certain countries, but not for those who enjoy freedom as we do,” the newspaper quoted the older Fishman as saying.

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