Memorial for the massacre victims
Memorial for the massacre victims Israel news photo: file

Thursday, March 11 marks 32 years since the Coastal Road Attack, the single most deadly terrorist attack carried out in Israel.

During the Jewish Sabbath, March 11, 1978, twelve members (ten men and two women) of a terrorist cell led by female terrorist Dalal Mughrabi landed 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 murdered American photo-journalist Gail Rubin, who was taking nature photographs nearby. They then walked less than a mile up to the four-lane highway, where they began a murderous rampage, opening fire at passing vehicles before hijacking a bus en route to Haifa.

The terrorists continued to fire and throw grenades at passing cars, while shooting at the passengers, and dumping 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. A shootout ensued, and the terrorists began shooting at passengers from point-blank range. The terrorists then blew up the bus with the passengers inside it. 

Thirty-eight civilians were murdered in the attack, thirteen of them children, and seventy-one were wounded.

The Israeli government noted in a statement that while the planned inauguration of a main square in Ramallah in the name of terrorist Dalal Mughrabi was canceled, there have been several instances of glorification of the terrorist atrocity by the PA. A Hevron girls' school was briefly named in honor of Mughrabi but the name was changed after it emerged that USAID was funding the school. Her name has also been given to summer camps and both police and military courses. A full list of such incidents is available from Palestinian Media Watch.

Among the victims of the terror attack were:

Revital (Tali) Aharonovitch (14)

Naomi Elichai (18)

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)

Liat Gal-On (6)

Shim'aon Glotman (43)

Amnon Drori (43)

Naama Hadani (5)

Ilan Hohman  (3)

Roi Hohman  (6)

Rebecca Hohman (28)

Mordechai (Moti) Zit  (9)

Josef Kheloani (66)

Malka Leibovitch-Wiess (58)

Tzyona Lozia-Cohen (32)

Abraham Lozia (37)

Otari Mansurov (37)

Yoav (Yoavi) Meshkel (6)

Tuvia Rozner (53)

Gail Rubin (40)

Meir Segal (73)

Katy (Rina) Sosensky (49)

Joseph Sosensky  (56)

Zvi (Zvika) Eshet  (46)

Omry Tel-Oren (14)

May their memories be blessed.

Israel intended to transfer the remains of Dalal Mughrabi to Hizbullah as part of a swap for the bodies of IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev in 2008. However, DNA testing of the remains that were transferred showed that Mughrabi's body was not among them. There has been speculation that her remains were swept out to sea by underground currents from the grave where they had been buried.