Film Documentary of Mike's Place Suicide Bombing Debuts on DVD

An award-winning documentary film about the 2003 suicide bombing at Mike's Place, a popular Tel Aviv beachside pub, has just made its DVD debut.

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Hana Levi Julian,

Aftermath of attack at Mike's Place pub
Aftermath of attack at Mike's Place pub
Israel News Photo: (archive)

"In 2003 two British nationals entered Israel from the Gaza Strip and changed lives…" begins the trailer of a two-disc DVD that describes the horror of Palestinian Authority terrorism visited upon a beachside pub in Tel Aviv on a warm spring night.

Fate brought filmmakers together for a good-time confab at the famous Tel Aviv blues bar 'Mike's Place' when suddenly it became the creative artists' worst nightmare come true.

Two suicide bombers attacked the live music club on April 30, 2003 while an American producer and his crew were filming a documentary about the bar staff and their multi-ethnic patrons. Both were members of the Hamas terrorist organization, although they were British nationals.

When they tried to enter the bar, located not far from the U.S. Embassy, the security guard blocked them.

Instantly, 22-year-old Assif Mahmoud Hanif detonated his explosive belt, causing a massive explosion that rocked the bar, killing three people and wounding 55 others. Hanif's 27-year-old partner Omar Khan Sharif, failed to detonate his belt and instead ran away. His body was found two weeks later when it washed up on the beach.

The film crew, present on the scene, captured the "before, during and aftermath" of the attack. The footage eventually made its way around the world.

The film's co-producer, Fran Strauss-Baxter, whose husband Jack was seriously injured in the attack, became deeply committed to the project. "When I saw my husband in the hospital, I knew that no matter what, the film must go on – just like Mike's Place," she said. "I know from first-hand experience that 'Blues' can change someone's perception of modern-day Israel."

The film, an independently produced documentary, offers unprecedented and up-close views of the effects of a terrorist attack. Although it had a limited run in U.S. theaters, the film was nominated for Best Documentary of 2005 and won awards at numerous film festivals and screenings at colleges, high schools and libraries. Pulitzer-prize winner David Mamet, director of 'Blues', called it "an actual, undeniable presentation of the unmitigated horror of terrorism."

The two-disc set with an "extras" DVD (never-before-seen footage) is available at various online commercial sites. The film itself is available for educational non-theatrical sales and screenings at libraries and schools. The trailer may be viewed at .