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A Diary Account by a Survivor of a Terror Attack 

The following is the account I wrote only minutes after being in the Terror attack at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem:

     "I was sitting at lunch at 1:45 in the cafeteria across from a friend, another friend from Japan was sitting behind me.  We were next to the windows talking casually in broken Hebrew about the differences between different Asian people when Grace and her husband David from Korea came over to talk to us.  They then left the restaurant and I continued my conversation with my friend.  Suddenly a loud, deafening explosion and flash of light occurred across the cafeteria.  Simultaneously we felt the blast wave.  I knew as it was exploding that it was a bomb.  The force was intense and I did not know if we were being injured or not.  Fortunately not.  I found my friend and we crawled out the windows.  I had only briefly looked up to see people in a panic fleeing the restaurant.  All the windows had been blown out.  I returned to the building and reached through the window to grab my backpack that I had forgotten, but spent no time looking around.  I saw one badly injured man outside. He was placed in a chair and 4 men carried the chair away from the area.  I also saw one girl who had walked away from the scene but was bleeding badly.  The Israelis quickly managed the situation. Perhaps within  10-15 minutes I saw maybe 20-30 emergency vehicles arrive.  My friend and I returned to the dorms and I washed the glass out of my hair.  We both called home.  I tried to call the madrich [RA] on duty but couldn't get through.  Nigel (my neighbor) called to see if I was okay, and informed me that the exam scheduled for 2 pm was still on, but we had the option to take it tomorrow.  My friend and I decided to return and take the test.  Briefly we talked with our classmates and went to view the area, but it was sealed off.  We took our exams.  It was difficult for me to keep my mind from wondering off in to thinking about what had just happened.  I completed the test in about 2 hours.  My friend finished quickly because she got the wrong test.  We went up to the cafeteria to see the mess.  There were of course some American reporters who were just wrapping up their stuff.  There were several people cleaning the building and washing out the blood.  The ceiling tiles were all blown out as well as the windows. Another window that was far from the cafeteria was also broke.  The initial report was 7 dead, with 86 injured although many of the injuries are probably from shock.
     Immediately the police/army had formed a perimeter at least 1 km wide and detained any suspicious looking persons (Arabs).  The explosion coincided with the last day of class and the first day of orientation for new students. Whoever did it was obviously familiar with the schools schedule, and security.  International students got out of class at 1 pm and we had exams at 2 pm.  I believe the bomb was approximately in the middle of the cafeteria, probably close to the back wall." 

- Written by Mark Haughwout within 20 minutes after the bombing.

 

Observations looking back five years later (Coincidentally Today is 9-11-2007): 

The terrorist turned out to be one of the Muslim painters who was painting our very class room walls.  We interacted with him and the crew on a daily basis.  He knew first hand the faces of the students and teachers he was going to murder.  He and his associates had performed 3 previous terror attacks in Cafes around Jerusalem. He was from Israel proper and used his residency to acquire access to areas that Muslim Arabs from the West bank or Gaza would not be able to.

During the terror attack I went back to get my backpack - not simply because I wanted my stuff, but because terrorists may plant two bombs - one to kill civilians and then one more to kill the rescue crew.  By removing my pack, I was helping the rescue crews to feel safer.  Other packs that were left behind were considered suspicious and had to be removed by security during the rescue work.

I did not realize how long afterwards I was in shock - perhaps 2 months.  Even 10 months later when I returned to the USA, when I saw a bag that was accidentally left behind in a parking lot, my first instinct was to call the police - but then I reminded myself "This is America, we are safe here".

We took our exams that day as scheduled to send a message to Terrorists:  You will not be able to disrupt our lives, We will not be terrorized. 

(The terrorist and his fellow murderers were caught and tried.  They are currently in prison.  Israel does not have the death penalty.)

Update 11-11-11

The terrorists behind the bombing at the Hebrew University are being released in exchange for the return of Gilad Shalit.  I am very glad Gilad is back home, but the release of these murderers is completely unacceptable. 

The following terrorists involved in the Hebrew University bombing are being released:

Walid Anajas who assisted with the bombing of the Frank Sinatra cafeteria at Hebrew University, and the 2002 bombings at Jerusalem's Café Moment which killed 11 and a club in Rishon Lezion that killed 16.

Abdullah Barghouti (the bomb maker) was sentenced to 67 consecutive life terms in jail for making bombs that killed dozens of people, including the one at the Hebrew University.

Muhammad Ouda (the bomb placer), 29, a resident of Silwan, who laid the bomb in the cafeteria at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  He was working at the school painting the very classrooms I was studying in.  During our lunch break he placed he bomb in the cafateria.  The next day he came to work at the university as usual.

If anyone has any updated info on the release of those involved in this terror attack, please contat me.

Update 9-11-2013

This past Spring my wife and I were at the Boston Marathon.  Thankfully she finished her run an hour before the bombings and we had left the finish area 20 min before the bombs went off.  We heard about the bombings from others while on the subway.  The cell-phone system was overwhelmed and relatives who do not use text were worried when they could not get a call through.  The transit system was shut down before we arrived back at our hotel, so my wife and I had to walk the last mile or so.  My first instinct after the bombing was to be there next year for the marathon, to show to the world that we will not be terrorized. 

 

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