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Coastal Road Massacre

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The Coastal Road massacre was a a terror attack directed at civilians carried out by the moderate Palestinian Fatah faction on March 11, 1978. The attack involved the hijacking of a bus on Israel's Coastal Highway in which 38 Israeli civilians, including 13 children, were killed, and 71 were wounded. No part of the territory invaded by the terrorists was ever part of territories promised to the Palestinian Arabs. The coastal road does not run through any territory occupied by Israel

The attack was planned by Abu Jihad and carried out by the moderate PLO Fatah faction. The plan was to seize a luxury hotel in Tel Aviv and take tourists and foreign ambassadors hostage in order to exchange them for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. The attack was timed to sabotage  peace talks between Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat. However, due to a navigation error, the attackers landed 40 miles (64 km) north of their Tel Aviv destination.

Fatah called the hijacking "Operation of the Martyr Kamal Adwan,"  I

On the morning of March 11, 1978, eleven Palestinian terrorists from Lebanon including Dalal Mughrabi landed by Zodiac boats on a beach near Ma'agan Michael north of Tel Aviv, having departed from Lebanon with a stash of Kalashnikov rifles, RPG light mortars and high explosives. They met American photographer Gail Rubin, who was taking nature photographs on the beach, and after she told them where they  were, they killed her. They then walked up to the four-lane highway, opened fire at passing cars and hijacked a white Mercedes taxi, killing its occupants. Setting off down the highway toward Tel Aviv, they hijacked a bus carrying Egged bus drivers and their families on a day outing, along the Tel-Aviv to Haifa Coastal Highway.

During the ride, the terrorists shot and threw grenades at passing cars, shot at the passengers and threw at least one body out of the bus. At one point they commandeered another bus, and forced the passengers from the first bus to board the second one. The bus was finally stopped by a police roadblock near Herzliya, and a long shootout ensued. Passengers who attempted to escape were shot. An explosion set the bus on fire. Thirty-eight civilians were killed in the attack, thirteen of them children, and seventy-one were wounded.

According to some reports, Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defense Minister at the time, led the military operation against Mughrabi in person.

Victims (ages in parentheses): Revital (Tali) Aharonovitch (14 years old); Erez Alfred (5); Yitzhak Alfred (44); Galit Ankwa (2); Yitzhak (Yitzik) Ankwa (10); Haviv Ankwa  (38); Mathilda (Mathy) Askenazy-Daniel (68); Yehuda Basterman  (32); Rina Bushkenitch  (34); Dov Bushkenitch  (36);Amnon Drori(43); Naomi Elichai (18); Liat Gal-On  (6); Shim'on Glotman  (43);  Naama Hadani  (5); Ilan Hohman  (3); Roi Hohman (6); Rebecca Hohman  (28); Mordechai (Moti) Zit  (9); Josef Kheloani  (66);  Tzyona Lozia-Cohen (32); Abraham Lozia  (37); Otari Mansurov (37); Yoav (Yoavi) Meshkel (6); Tuvia Rozner (53); Gail Rubin (40); Meir Segal [54] (73); Katy (Rina) Sosensky (49); Joseph Sosensky  (56); Omri Tel-Oren (14); Malka Leibovitch-Wiess (58);

In 2009, Khaled Abu Asba, one of only two surviving perpetrators of the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre, was not willing to express remorse or to apologize for what he did.

The moderate Palestinian Authority  has honored terrorist Dalal Moughrabi by naming squares and schools after her. In 2010 ,moderate Palestinian Tawfiq Tirawi, a member of the Fatah Central Committee and a former Palestinian Authority  security commander, hailed Mughrabi, as a freedom fighter who sacrificed her life for her people and her homeland

“We are all projects of martyrdom like Mughrabi,” he said. “We are all Mughrabi.”

In March of 2011, Riad al Malki, the Foreign Minister of the Palestinian Authority  stated at the time of the Itamar Massacre:

The killing of an infant and the slaughtering of people ... was never carried out by any Palestinians for national motives or revenge.


Ami Isseroff

March 25, 2011

Synonyms and alternate spellings:

Further Information:

Hebrew/Arabic pronunciation and transliteration conventions:

'H - ('het) a guttural sound made deep in the throat. To Western ears it may sound like the "ch" in loch. In Arabic there are several letters that have similar sounds. Examples: 'hanukah, 'hamas, 'haredi. Formerly, this sound was often represented by ch, especially in German transliterations of Hebrew. Thus, 'hanukah is often rendered as Chanuka for example.

ch - (chaf) a sound like "ch" in loch or the Russian Kh as in Khruschev or German Ach, made by putting the tongue against the roof of the mouth. In Hebrew, a chaf can never occur at the beginning of a word. At the beginning of a word, it has a dot in it and is pronounced "Kaf."

u - usually between oo as in spoon and u as in put.

a- sounded like a in arm

ah- used to represent an a sound made by the letter hey at the end of a word. It is the same sound as a. Haganah and Hagana are alternative acceptable transliterations.

'a-notation used for Hebrew and Arabic ayin, a guttural ah sound.

o - close to the French o as in homme.

th - (taf without a dot) - Th was formerly used to transliterate the Hebrew taf sound for taf without a dot. However in modern Hebrew there is no detectable difference in standard pronunciation of taf with or without a dot, and therefore Histadruth and Histadrut, Rehovoth and Rehovot are all acceptable.

q- (quf) - In transliteration of Hebrew and Arabic, it is best to consistently use the letter q for the quf, to avoid confusion with similar sounding words that might be spelled with a kaf, which should be transliterated as K. Thus, Hatiqva is preferable to Hatikva for example.

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This work and individual entries are copyright © 2005 by Ami Isseroff and Zionism and Israel Information Center and may not reproduced in any form without permission unless explicitly noted otherwise. Individual entries may be cited with credit to The Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Zionism and Israel


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