Sbarro bombing victim dies after 22 years in coma

Chana Tova Nachenberg never woke up after a Palestinian terrorist blew up the pizza eatery in the heart of Jerusalem.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Chana Tova Nachenberg, who never woke up after a Palestinian terrorist blew up the Sbarro pizza shop in downtown Jerusalem in August 2001, died Wednesday, thus raising the death toll to 16.

“Our daughter, Chana Tova Feiner Nachenberg, died after almost 22 years of heroism,” said her father, Yitzhak. “She was supposed to turn 53 years old in one month.”

Nachenberg had been cared for while in her vegetative state in the Reuth Rehabilitation Hospital in Tel Aviv. Three weeks ago, her condition began to deteriorate, Nachenberg’s father, and she was taken to Ichilov Hospital, where she passed away.

The then-31-year-old mother was eating lunch with her daughter, Sarah, aged three, when Hamas terrorist Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri entered the popular eatery. He triggered a large explosive packed with nails and screws to cause maximum damage, killing himself and 15 diners while wounding some 130 others. Amazingly, Sarah was not physically harmed in the blast.

Of al-Masri’s other dead victims, two were American citizens, 15-year-old Malki Roth and Shoshana Yehudit Greenbaum, who was pregnant at the time. Five members of the Dutch-Israeli Schijveschuurder family died in the blast as well, the parents and three children, aged two, four and 14.   Among the native-born Israelis, three others were children as well: Tamara Shimashvili (8), Yocheved Shoshan (10) and Michal Raziel (16).

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It was one of the worst suicide bombings in Israel’s history.

Israel’s security services caught al-Masri’s two accomplices, Muhammad Douglas and Ahlam Tamimi, who were sentenced to life in prison. Tamimi in particular was unrepentant for having chosen the location and driving the suicide bomber there, telling the court “I will see you all in hell, God willing. The smile on my face will not be erased.”

The two were then released ten years later in the Gilad Shalit deal, where 1,027 terrorists were exchanged for the IDF soldier who had been held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip for five years after he surrendered to an armed terror squad that attacked his tank near the Kerem Shalom border crossing.

The builder of the bomb, Abdullah Barghouti, who has 67 life sentences against him for all the deaths he is responsible for in various attacks, remains in prison.

Tamimi moved to Jordan and became a TV journalist who has often glorified her role in the bombing. Although she has been near the top of the FBI’s most-wanted list ever since attaining her freedom and the Americans have requested her extradition several times, Jordan has refused to hand her over, in defiance of the extradition agreement between the two countries.

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Just last month, Republican Senator Ted Cruz demanded in a nomination hearing for Yael Lempert, the new American ambassador to Amman, that more pressure be brought to bear so that Tamimi could be brought to justice. He suggested that annual American aid to Jordan, which currently stands at $1.65 billion, could be threatened until its government complies.