Bus 405 Suicide Attack Kills or Wounds 33

July 6, 1989

Although the perpetrator survived, some observers termed his hijacking of the number 405 bus the first suicide attack of the First Intifada.  Abed al-Hadi Ghanem was a terrorist of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad who seized control of the number 405 bus as it traveled from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  After boarding the bus, he sat next to the driver.  When the bus passed a ravine near Jerusalem, he seized control of the wheel from the driver, and ran the bus over the cliff.  Sixteen passengers were killed, including one American and two Canadians, and seventeen were wounded.  It was the worst terrorist attack in Israel since the Coastal Road Massacre in 1978.

Students at the nearby Telz-Stone yeshiva and rushed to the scene to help the survivors and to ensure proper Jewish burial for the victims.  The yeshiva students were moved to create ZAKA, a volunteer organization of religious Jews in Israel who act as emergency responders, performing search and rescue missions, providing assistance in international disasters, and working towards accident prevention.

Ghanem survived the attack and was sentenced to sixteen life sentences in October 1989.  In October 2011, he was one of the 1,027 Palestinian prisoners released in exchange for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.  Upon Ghanem’s release, popular Israeli singer Ruhama Raz, whose sister was killed in the bus #405 attack, said, “There is no price for our soldiers. I say this with great pain, tremendous pain, and perhaps there are families that are angry with me.”

The photo shows the memorial to the sixteen victims of the bus #405 terrorist attack near Jerusalem.