TEL AVIV — The Gaza Strip-based Hamas terror group last week celebrated the 16th anniversary of a suicide attack in Jerusalem that left 15 Israelis dead and 130 wounded.
The group marked the August 9, 2001, attack on the Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem with a post on the website of Hamas’s television channel celebrating the guitar case in which the bomb used in the attack was hidden.
The post was headlined “The Sbarro operation – The guitar that shook the [Zionist] entity and reaped 20 Zionists,” according to a translation by Palestinian Media Watch, an Israeli nonprofit tracking Palestinian media.
According to the TV station’s post, “Aug. 9, 2001, was not an ordinary day in the memory of the Zionist entity’s leaders…
“When the Sbarro restaurant on Jaffa Street in occupied Jerusalem was full of Zionist settlers at lunchtime, Martyrdom-Seeker from [Hamas’ military wing Izz A-Din] Al-Qassam Brigades, Izz Al-Din Al-Masri [the suicide bomber who murdered 15 people, 7 of them children] had an opportunity to mingle with them together with his booby-trapped guitar, and playing the melodies of revenge on those who defiled the land, and violated [Palestinian] blood and honor…”
Israel, the post continued, “was unable to hide its killed and wounded, and it announced the death of 20 Zionists [sic., 15 Israelis were killed in the attack] and the wounding of 120 others [sic., 130 were wounded].
“The news of the operation made Palestinians joyous everywhere. The largest celebrations in honor of the hero [suicide bomber Al-Masri] were at the Jenin refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank, the lion’s den that 29-year-old Martyrdom-Seeker Izz Al-Din Al-Masri came from. Masses of people went out to the streets, cheered, and distributed candies out of happiness.”
PMW has in the past documented commemoration of the Sbarro attack by both the Fatah movement and the Palestinian Authority.
In 2001, according to PMW, the Hamas student branch at Al-Najah University in Nablus celebrated the murders by creating an exhibit of the pizza shop and posted on the wall images of body parts.
In 2014, the Palestinian Authority honored Masri by giving him a military funeral when his body was returned to the Palestinian Authority. At the time, Palestinian TV celebrated the terrorist who, in the words of one anchor, “gave his soul for the struggle of a nation that strives for freedom.”
Jamal Abu Ara, then mayor of the Palestinian town of Aqqaba, told the reporter that “The popular gathering around the blood of Izz Al-Din Al-Masri [the Sbarro bomber] is an honest and true expression of our people’s yearning for national unity [between Fatah and Hamas] and unity of action.”
Among the dead in the Sbarro terror attack an entire family perished. Mordechai and Tzirel Schijveschuurder were killed along with three of their children, Ra’aya aged 14, Avraham aged 4, and Hemda aged 2.