Yahya Ayyash was the mastermind who orchestrated several past suicide bombings like the Mehola suicide bombing in 1993.
Ayyash wanting to increase the carnage of his own attack decide to make an even deadlier attack, but this time instead of it being in the West Bank it would be in a major Israeli city where most Israelis lived.
Ayyash’s plan was to blow up a public bus in Tel Aviv using an old Egyptian landmine with twenty kilograms of TNT.
Ayyash placed plenty of screws and nails so people not killed by the initial blast would in the very least get wound by flying fragments of metal.
Saleh Abdel Rahim A-Souwi was a Hamas member since 1989 and was already on a wanted list by the Israeli Security Agency, but was not considered a high priority.
Muatab Mukadi a comrade from his Hamas cell in Samaria drove him to the first bus stop of Bus Five.
At nine in the morning, the bus was a hundred meters north of Dizengoff Square and A-Souwi blew himself up along with twenty-one Israelis and one Dutch National.
Clyde Haberman from the New York Times reported from an eyewitness, “We saw a horrible picture,” said a man who was standing on Dizengoff Street, Tel Aviv’s equivalent to New York’s Broadway, when the explosion occurred during the morning rush hour. “The bus seemed to be lifted into the air. The roof flew. The place looked like a battlefield.”
Little did Haberman know that in the coming years the suicide bombings would be more frequent and deadly.
According to the Jewish Virtual library, the following are the victims of the explosion:
- Haviv Tishbi, Age 54, Tel Aviv
- Moshe Gardinger, 83, Tel Aviv
- Pnina Rappaport, 74, Tel Aviv
- Galit Rosen, 23, Holon
- Zippora Ariel, 64, Tel Aviv
- David Lida, 74, Tel Aviv
- Puah Yedgar, 56, Givatayim
- Dalia Ashkenazi, 62, Tel Aviv
- Esther Sharon, 21, Lod
- Ofra Ben Naim, 33, Lod
- Tamar Carlebach-Saper, 24, Moshav Zafaria
- Shira Meroz-Kot, 20, Kibbutz Beit Hashita
- Miriam Adaf, 54 Sderot
- Anat Rosen, 21, Ra’anana
- Salah Ovadia, 52, Holon
- Eliyahu Wasserman, 66, Bat Yam
- Alexandra Sapirstein, 55, Holon
- Pierre Atlas, 56, Kiryat Ono
- Ella Volkov, 21, Tzfat
- Ayelet Langer-Alkobi,26, Kibbutz Yiron
- Kochava Biton, 59, Tel Aviv
- Reiner Verbiest, 25, Netherlands
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin who was currently working toward negotiations with the Palestinians for the Oslo Accords was in the UK at the time and immediately returned to Israel.
A-Souwi’s DNA was picked up at the terror site and it led the Israeli Security Agency to track down his family and demolish their home.
In 2002 The Sydney Morning Herald reported an update of the A-Souwi family, ” Rahim says he keeps the mementos not because he is an avid supporter of Hamas, the militant group in whose name al-Souwi killed, but because that is all he has left of his son. As for the monthly stipend of about $US120 ($220) the family receives from the Palestinian Authority for his martyred sons, he says he would gladly give it back if they appeared at his door.”
The neighborhood of A-Souwi celebrated the death of the Israeli civilians killed after the bombing he perpetrated.
A-Souwi family keeping the Hamas paraphernalia shows they are proud of what his son did and lied to the Herald about not supporting Hamas.
Israel should have sent in the military to assassinated Ayyash right after the attack happened and expelled the family to Jordan.
Instead the home demolition did nothing more but, destroy a home that was later rebuilt by their neighbors and received a stipend from the Palestinian Authority.