Mike’s Place Bombing

American immigrants living in Israel know very well about the Mike’s Place restaurants both in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Mike Place is a great place to watch American sporting events like the Super Bowl and a great place for English speaking immigrants to congregate.

Very few people know the Tel Aviv branch was once the scene of a suicide bombing carried out by two British Muslims who entered Israel from Jordan using the Allenby Bridge in 2003.

According to the BBC News, “The attack is thought to be the first by foreign sympathisers since the start of the current uprising in 2000.”

BBC’s journalist Nick Thorpe interviewed the ISM activist who last spoke with the terrorists, “They said they did not belong to any organisation, but I did not form any impression of them.” After a 15 minute chat, the three men joined a group of 20 people to lay flowers at a nearby site where an activist was killed, before they went their separate ways.

BBC News Reported, ” In the UK, anti-terrorist police are continuing to question six people in connection with the attack in Tel Aviv. The British investigation involves MI5, MI6, Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorism branch, local police forces and international agencies. Chancellor Gordon Brown has ordered the freezing of all UK accounts owned by Mr Sharif and Mr. Hanif.”

Both men came from abroad to take part in a terror attack and visited the International Solidarity Movement and had known about Rachel Corrie the American activist who was killed trying to block a military tractor.

ISM has been known to give moral support to terror groups by providing moral and physical aid to them and maintaining relationships with terror groups.

Two British men who were involved with the ISM who had blown up Mike Place in Tel Aviv a few days later brought great scrutiny upon the NGO.

April 30, 2003, the suicide bomber Hanif approached Mike’s Place and blew himself up at the entrance, since the security guard Avi Tabib fought with Hanif and prevented him from entering the premises.

The following are the casualties according to the Jewish Virtual Library:

  • Ran Baron, 22,¬†
  • Dominique Caroline Hass, 29
  • Yanai Weiss, 46

After the Attack Hamas and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack and the two suicide bombers were filmed by them a few days before the attack.

Robert Bauer the former CIA agent interviewed Avi Tabib to understand how he survived the blast.

Tabib said according to the doctors he survived because he was really close to the explosion and because of that did not catch the full blast of the explosion.

Sharif reached the David Intercontinental Hotel and struggled with the security guard at the entrance by trying to steal his ID, but he did not manage to do so.

Sharif managed to get away and left the explosive at the scene to be later turned over to the police, eventually his body was found on Tel Aviv beach a few days later.

Pat Clare wrote in 2013 an article for the Independent, ” Ms. Sharif’s e-mail is said to have read: “We all have to be firm and focused with reality as time is slipping away and there is really no time to be weak and emotional. It does not matter of consequences to us in this life because we do not fear or allow to be weak. When we see you again it will be like only half a day has passed. Stay focused and determined. You have no time for emotions. May Allah take care of us all and join us all soon.”

Parveen Sharif was Omar Sharif’s sister and had sent an email encouraging him to be strong and carry out the attack.

According to the email Parveen was well aware of what her brother was up to and the reference of seeing him again was speaking about the time when they would all see each other one day in heaven.

About the Author
Shlomo was born in Miami, Florida in 1989 and moved to Israel in 2012. He holds a degree from Florida Atlantic University in Political Science and served in the IDF as a combat soldier in the Netzach Yehuda Battalion. After serving in the military Shlomo studied in Yeshivat Shavie Hevron where he lived in Hebron. He now lives in Kiryat Arba, is a proud reservist in the Golani Brigade, and is a blogger for the Times of Israel.