The Beit Lid suicide bombing, (also named Beit Lid massacre) was a double suicide attack by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad against Israeli soldiers at the Beit Lid Junction on January 22, 1995. It was the first suicide attack by Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
In 1994, Hani Abed, a Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative, brokered an alliance between Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. (Hani was later assassinated by Israel). As part of the alliance, Hamas's chief bombmaker, Yahya Ayyash, built the three bombs used by Islamic Jihad for the Beit Lid suicide attack. Each was made using plumber's pipe (one foot long and eight inches (203 mm) wide) and five kilograms of military-grade TNT, surrounded by nails.
The Beit Lid junction is a well-known waypoint towards Netanya. Strategically, it is an important crossroads between Tel Aviv and Haifa located on Highway 4. "On Sunday mornings, Beit Lid was swamped with thousands of young soldiers and aging reservists heading back to military duty from weekend leaves". Ashmoret Prison is located in the southwest corner of the Beit Lid junction. At the time of the bombing, Ahmed Yassin, founder of Hamas, was being held there.
On 22 January 1995, at approximately 9:30 am, a Palestinian suicide bomber, disguised as an Israeli soldier, approached the bus stop at the Beit Lid junction in central Israel. The bus stop was full of Israeli soldiers who were on their way to their bases after their weekend vacation. The suicide bomber walked into the crowd and detonated the hidden explosives belt he was wearing. About three minutes later a second suicide bomber exploded at the same spot, killing and injuring people wounded in the first explosion, as well as bystanders who had rushed to the scene to assist the victims of the first explosion.
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin toured the bombing site the next day, walking within yards of a kit bag containing a third bomb. Shaaker had left it there for a third suicide bomber, Shahdi Abed al-Rahim, who never made it to the junction. al-Rahim was to have used the bomb to kill Rabin and the Shabak agents accompanying him. The bomb was later recovered, and provided investigators with more evidence implicating Ayyash.
- ^ "But after the Beit Lid massacre, the government approved the construction and sale of 4000 units in occupied land around Jerusalem." Beyer, Lisa. "Can Peace Survive", Time, February 06, 1995.
- ^ "When Arafat called Rabin to express his condolences on the Beit Lid massacre, the prime minister was understandably furious." Karsh, Efraim, Arafat's War: The Man and His Battle for Israeli Conquest, Grove Press, 2003, p. 116. ISBN 0-8021-1758-9
- ^ "The reaction of peace processors in Jerusalem and Washington to the Beit Lid massacre, in which Islamic suicide bombers wiped out a score of Israelis, has been shock, anger, sorrow -- but a determination that terrorist attacks not be allowed to stop the peace process." Safire, William. "Essay; Responding to Terror", The New York Times, January 26, 1995.
- ^ "President Ezer Weizman, a super-dove who initially supported the agreement wholeheartedly, called for a temporary suspension of talks following the Beit Lid massacre on January 22 and again after the February 6 killing in Gaza." Bar-Ilan, David. "Rain of terror - Israeli politics", National Review, March 6, 1995, p. 2.
- ^ a b c Katz, 166-167
- ^ Katz, 168