1979 Nahariya attack

The 1979 Nahariya attack (codenamed by its perpetrators as the Nasser Operation) was a raid by four Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) militants in Nahariya, Israel on April 22, 1979.

The group, consisting of Abdel Majeed Asslan, Mhanna Salim al-Muayed, and Ahmed al-Abras, and led by 16-year-old Samir Kuntar, used a small, 55 horsepower (41 kW) boat to travel from Tyre, Lebanon to Israel. During the attack they killed three Israelis, including a father and two of his young children. Another child was accidentally suffocated in efforts to hide her from the attackers. Kuntar and al-Abras were captured, convicted of murder by an Israeli court, and sentenced to several life sentences.

Both Kuntar and al-Abras were later set free in prisoner swap deals conducted between Israel and Lebanese militant organizations – al-Abras in 1985, and Kuntar in 2008.

1979 Nahariya attack
Part of Palestinian insurgency in South Lebanon
Israel outline northwest

Red pog.svg
The attack site
LocationNahariya, Israel
Coordinates33°0′0″N 35°5′24″E / 33.00000°N 35.09000°E
DateApril 22, 1979
Attack type
Shooting spree, Kidnapping
Deaths4 Israeli civilians, including 2 children (+ 2 attackers)
PerpetratorsFour Palestinian assailants. The Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) claimed responsibility.

Details of the attack


On April 22, 1979, a group of four Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) militants entered Israel from Lebanon by boat.[1] The group was headed by Samir Kuntar (born in 1962) and included Abdel Majeed Asslan (born in 1955), Mhanna Salim Al-Muayed (born in 1960) and Ahmed AlAbras (born in 1949) – all members of the PLF under the leadership of Abu Abbas. The group departed from the seashore of Tyre in Southern Lebanon using a 55 horse-powered motorized rubber boat with an 88 km/h speed. Their goal was to attack Nahariya, 10 kilometers away from the Lebanese border. Around midnight they arrived at the coastal town of Nahariya.

Killing of Eliyahu Shahar

Upon landing on the beach in Nahariya, the group followed instructions issued in Beirut – which included finding a police officer and killing him.[2] They knocked on the door of a private house and called out in Arabic via the intercom, frightening the residents into calling the police.[2] Then, they killed responding police officer Eliyahu Shahar. According to the Israeli security services' reconstruction of the incident, Shahar was killed after he got out of his vehicle and fired two warning shots into the air. Kuntar's group responded with a massive burst of gunfire.[2] Samir Kuntar boasted that he alone shot 30 bullets in this incident.[2]

Raid on apartment building and kidnapping

The group then entered an apartment building on 61 Jabotinsky Street planning to abduct two or three people and take them back to Lebanon. One of the PFLP men, Abdel Majeed Asslan, broke into the apartment of Charles Shapiro, 34, a recent immigrant from South Africa, after the doors to his apartment had been shot up. Shapiro, who was armed with a .22 caliber magnum revolver, shot Asslan dead.[2][3] Next, Kuntar's group encountered Moshe Sasson, a resident who was trying to reach the building's bomb shelter carrying his two young daughters, one under each arm. Kuntar shoved Sasson and slammed a handgun into the back of his skull. However, Sasson escaped when the hall lights suddenly went out, and hid under a parked car. [4][5] The three remaining militants then broke into the apartment of the Haran family. They took 31-year-old Danny Haran hostage along with his four-year-old daughter, Einat. The mother, Smadar Haran, was able to hide in a crawl space above the bedroom with her two-year-old daughter Yael, and a neighbor – Sasson's wife.[4][5]

Shootout on the beach

Danny, Einat and Yael Haran. According to eyewitnesses and forensic reports, Kuntar shot Danny at close range in the back, in front of his daughter, and then killed the girl Einat, by smashing her skull against the rocks with the butt of his rifle.

Kuntar's group then took Danny and Einat down to the beach, where a shootout erupted with Israeli policemen and a squad of soldiers from the elite Sayeret Golani special forces unit.

According to eyewitnesses, when Kuntar's group found that the rubber boat they'd arrived in was disabled by gunfire, Kuntar shot Danny at close range in the back, in front of his daughter, and drowned him in the sea to ensure he was dead.[1][2] Next, according to forensic evidence and eyewitness court testimony, Kuntar killed the girl by smashing her skull against the rocks with the butt of his rifle.[1][2] Smadar Haran accidentally suffocated Yael to death while attempting to quiet her whimpering, which would have revealed their hiding place.[6][7] A second militant, Mhanna Salim Al-Muayed, was killed in the shootout on the beach.[2] Kuntar and the fourth member of the group, Ahmed Assad Abras, were captured.


The four Israeli victims of the attack were:

  • Police officer Eliyahu Shahar (24 years old).[1]
  • Danny Haran (32 year-old).[1]
  • Einat Haran, Danny's 4-year-old daughter.[1]
  • In addition, Danny's other daughter, two-year-old Yael, was accidentally suffocated by her mother, who was trying to keep the young girl quiet as they hid from the terrorists.[1]


The day after the attack, Israeli Navy gunboats bombarded Nahr el-Bared, a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut described by an Israeli military spokesman as a major base for the PFLP. The bombardment lasted an hour, and three civilians were reportedly killed.[8]

On December 19, 2015, Kuntar was killed by an explosion destroying a six-story residential building in Jaramana on the outskirts of Damascus.[9][10] Hezbollah and the state run Syrian Arab News Agency reported that the building was destroyed by an air-to-surface missile launched by the Israeli Air Force.[11][12][13]


The pathologist's report, declassified in 2008, showed that 4 year old Einat Haran's brain tissue was found on Kuntar's rifle.[1]
Kuntar went over to Einat Haran and hit her head twice with the butt of his rifle, with the intent of killing her, (...) The other defendant also struck her head forcefully. As a result of the blows, Einat suffered skull fractures and fatal brain damage, causing her death. They murdered the hostages – a helpless father and daughter, in cold blood. (...) By these acts the defendants reached an all-time moral low (...) an unparalleled satanic act (...) the punishments we are about to impose on the defendants cannot begin to match the brutality of their actions."
— Verdict of Samir Kuntar and Ahmed AlAbras [1]

Samir Kuntar and Ahmed AlAbras were convicted of murdering four people by an Israeli court in 1980, and sentenced to four life sentences, and an additional 47 years for injuries inflicted.[1]

On July 13, 2008, after being classified for nearly thirty years, File No. 578/79, containing the evidence and testimony from Kuntar's 1980 trial, was first published.[1] According to the file, evidence presented by the pathologist at the trial showed that Einat Haran was killed by the force of a blunt instrument – most likely a rifle butt. The pathologist's report also showed that Einat's brain tissue was found on Kuntar's rifle.[2]

Immediately following his capture, when his remand was extended, Kuntar confessed that he had bludgeoned Einat to death with the butt of his rifle.[1] Later, however, when testifying in court, Kuntar denied the charges. In his testimony, Kuntar asserted that Israeli gunfire had killed Danny Haran as soldiers burst in to free him, and that he did not see what happened to Einat after passing out from blood lost from five bullet wounds.[1][14] He explained that the group's goal had been to take hostages back to Lebanon, and that he had taken the 4-year-old to prevent Israeli police from shooting at them.[1][15]

According to some sources Samir Kuntar and Ahmed AlAbras were sentenced to 5 life terms[1] and that two Police officers were killed.[15]


Samir kuntar in shiraz 3
Samir Kuntar. In Israel, Kuntar was considered the perpetrator of one of the most brutal terrorist attacks in the country's history, while in Lebanon he was widely regarded as a national hero.

The killing of Einat Haran is regarded as one of the most brutal terror attacks in the history of Israel.[16][17][18][19] A day after the attack, Abu Abbas, the leader of the Palestine Liberation Front announced from Beirut that the terrorist attack in Nahariya had been carried out "to protest the signing of the Egyptian–Israeli Peace Treaty" at Camp David the previous year.[7] When Abbas (who had planned the kidnapping with Kuntar) later orchestrated the Achille Lauro hijacking the PLF demanded Israel release 50 Palestinian prisoners but specifically only named Kuntar.[20]

In 1980, Smadar Haran married Yakov Kaiser, a clinical psychologist who had been severely wounded in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. They have two daughters. Smadar is now a psychotherapist with a master's degree in social work.[21] Ahmed AlAbras was freed by Israel in the Jibril Agreement of May 1985. According to Leonard A. Cole, Smadar Haran led a campaign in Israel to honor the victims of terrorism just as it does its fallen soldiers, and in 2003 she opposed the release of Samir Kuntar in exchange for the bodies of the 3 Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah during the 2000 Hezbollah cross-border raid, and for Elchanan Tannenbaum, the Israeli businessman and former IDF colonel who was kidnapped by Hezbollah in Dubai. Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that "The murder of a family in Israel is unforgivable" and refused to release Kuntar in the 2003 swap.[22][23]

Samir Kuntar spent nearly three decades in prison before being released on July 16, 2008 as part of an Israel-Hezbollah prisoner swap. He denied killing Danny and Einat (the child and her father),[15] but admitted to killing Eliyahu Shachar, the policeman.[2] He never expressed remorse for the killings.[1] In Israel, Kuntar was considered the perpetrator of one of the most brutal terrorist attacks in the country's history,[24] while in Lebanon he was widely regarded as a national hero.[25] He was assassinated on December 19, 2015, in a suspected Israeli airstrike, though Israel did not confirm this and the Free Syrian Army would later take credit for killing Kuntar.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Gontarz, Nir (2007-07-14). "The Kuntar File, Exposed". Yediot Aharonot. Retrieved 22 August 2008. Translated by the website of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Retrieved July 17, 2008
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Kotes-Bar, Chen (2008-07-19). "'The girl screamed. I don't remember anything else'". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 24 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-24.
  3. ^ "The Achille Lauro Hijacking: Lessons in the Politics and Prejudice of Terrorism" By Michael K. Bohn, Published by Brassey's, 2004, ISBN 1-57488-779-3, 978-1-57488-779-2, 235 pages, Page 56.
  4. ^ a b "Israeli Cabinet OKs Hezbollah prisoner swap". MSNBC. Retrieved 25 August 2008.
  5. ^ a b "Prisoner Swap Stirs Raw Memories In Israel". CBS News. July 16, 2008. Retrieved 25 August 2008.
  6. ^ Beyer, Lisa, "A Mother's Anguish Renewed", Time Magazine, July 25, 2006. Retrieved on July 7, 2008.
  7. ^ a b Smadar Haran Kaiser (2003-05-18). "The World Should Know What He Did to My Family". The Washington Post. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
  8. ^ "The Glasgow Herald - Google News Archive Search".
  9. ^ Mariam Karouny and Suleiman Al-Khalidi (20 December 2015). "Lebanese militant leader killed in Israeli raid in Syria - Hezbollah". Reuters.
  10. ^ Dana Ballout in Beirut and Asa Fitch in Dubai (20 December 2015). "Israel Kills Militant in Syrian Airstrike, Hezbollah Says". WSJ.
  11. ^ "Hezbollah: Samir Kuntar killed in Israeli airstrike on Damascus - Middle East News". Haaretz.com. Retrieved 2015-12-20.
  12. ^ "Longest-serving Lebanese prisoner in Israel killed in Syria". The Big Story. Retrieved 2015-12-20.
  13. ^ Roi Kais, Yoav Zitun, Liad Osmo, 'Hezbollah: Samir Kuntar, murderer of Haran family, killed in airstrike,' Ynet 20 December 2015.
  14. ^ Kraft, Dina "Prisoner Deal Reopens an Israeli Wound", The New York Times, July 16, 2008.
  15. ^ a b c Khoury, Jack (2008-07-01). "Former cellmate says Samir Kuntar never meant to kill anyone". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 4 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  16. ^ "'The girl screamed. I don't remember anything else'". The Guardian. 2008-07-18. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
  17. ^ "'A celebration of evil'". Jerusalem Post. 2008-07-15. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
  18. ^ Jacoby, Jeff (2008-07-02). "'Savagely killed 4-year-old Einat Haran'". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 5 September 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
  19. ^ "'Israel's agonizing debate over prisoner swaps'". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2008-07-09. Archived from the original on 23 August 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
  20. ^ Paul Alster (October 27, 2014). "The untold story of the horrendous murders which led to the 1985 Achille Lauro hijacking - the terrorist outrage that's been made into an opera sparking protests in America". Daily Mail.
  21. ^ "Terror: How Israel Has Coped and What America Can Learn" By Leonard A. Cole, Published by Indiana University Press, 2007, ISBN 0-253-34918-4, 978-0-253-34918-7, 251 pages, Page 82
  22. ^ "Terror: How Israel Has Coped and What America Can Learn" By Leonard A. Cole Published by Indiana University Press, 2007, ISBN 0-253-34918-4, 978-0-253-34918-7, 251 pages, Page 83
  23. ^ "The Government approves deal with bare majority" (in Hebrew). YNET. 2003-09-11. Archived from the original on 1 August 2008. Retrieved 26 August 2008. (5th paragraph in article, Machine translated by Babylon)
  24. ^ "A celebration of evil", The Jerusalem Post, July 14, 2008. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
  25. ^ Kawsally, Saseen, "One man's hero...", menassat.com, July 18, 2008. Retrieved 25 November 2012.

External links

1979 in Israel

Events in the year 1979 in Israel.

Front for the Liberation of Lebanon from Foreigners

The Front for the Liberation of Lebanon from Foreigners – FLLF (Arabic: جبهة تحرير لبنان من الغرباء transliterated as Jabhat Tahrir Lubnan min al Ghurabaa) or Front pour la Libération du Liban des Étrangers (FLLE) in French, was a formerly obscure underground terrorist organization that surfaced in Lebanon at the early 1980s. The group was originally set up on the orders of Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan, who instructed Israeli General Avigdor Ben-Gal to create the group in the wake of the 1979 Nahariya attack.

Israeli casualties of war

Israeli casualties of war, in addition to those of Israel's seven major wars, include 9,745 soldiers and security forces personnel killed in "miscellaneous engagements and terrorist attacks", which includes security forces members killed during military operations, by fighting crime, natural disasters, diseases, traffic or labor accidents and disabled veterans whose disabilities contributed to their deaths. Between 1948 and 1997, 20,093 Israeli soldiers were killed in combat, 75,000 Israelis were wounded, and nearly 100,000 Israelis were considered disabled army veterans. On the other hand, in 2010 Yom Hazikaron, Israel honored the memory of 22,684 Israeli soldiers and pre-Israeli Palestinian Jews killed since 1860 in the line of duty for the independence, preservation and protection of the nation, and 3,971 civilian terror victims. The memorial roll, in addition to IDF members deceased, also include fallen members of the Shin Bet security service, the Mossad intelligence service, the Israel Police, the Border Police, the Israel Prisons Service, other Israeli security forces, the pre-state Jewish underground, and the Jewish Brigade and the Jewish Legion (which served alongside British forces in World War II and World War I respectively).

According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Anti-Defamation League, a total of 1,194 Israelis and foreigners were killed and 7,000 wounded between September 2000 and August 2010 by Palestinian terror attacks (most of them during 2000–2005 Second Intifada); while more than 3,000 Israelis have been killed and 25,000 have been wounded as a result of Palestinian violence and hostile enemy action (without including wars) since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 until today. Another 685 Jewish residents of Mandatory Palestine were killed between 1920 and 1947 as a result of Arab riots, British anti-Zionist operations and World War II attacks.Palestinians killed 1,074 Israelis and wounded 7,520 between 2000 and 2005.The following tables summarize Israeli casualties by war, conflict or incident.

List of Israeli prisoner exchanges

Israeli prisoner exchanges refer to exchanges of prisoners during the Arab–Israeli conflict. Israel has exchanged POWs with its Arab neighbors, and has released about 7,000 Palestinian prisoners to secure freedom for 19 Israelis and to retrieve the bodies of eight others.

List of people sentenced to more than one life imprisonment

This is a list of people sentenced to more than one life imprisonment in a single trial, worldwide. The sentence may specify that the life sentences are to be served concurrently or consecutively.

MS Achille Lauro

MS Achille Lauro was a cruise ship based in Naples, Italy. Built between 1939 and 1947 as MS Willem Ruys, a passenger liner for the Rotterdamsche Lloyd, she was hijacked by members of the Palestine Liberation Front in 1985.

In other incidents, she also suffered two serious collisions (in 1953 with the MS Oranje and in 1975 with the cargo ship Youseff) and four onboard fires or explosions (in 1965, 1972, 1981, and 1994). In the last of these, in 1994, the ship caught fire and sank in the Indian Ocean off Somalia.


Nahariya (Hebrew: נַהֲרִיָּה) is the northernmost coastal city in Israel. In 2017 it had a population of 56,071.

Palestinian Liberation Front

The Palestinian Liberation Front (PLF) (جبهة التحرير الفلسطينية) is a Palestinian political faction.

Palestinian political violence

Palestinian political violence refers to acts of violence or terror motivated by Palestinian nationalism. These political objectives include self-determination in and sovereignty over Palestine, the "liberation of Palestine" and recognition of a Palestinian state, either in place of both Israel and the Palestinian territories, or solely in the Palestinian territories. Periodically directed toward more limited goals such as the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel, another key aim is to advance the Palestinian right of return.Palestinian groups that have been involved in politically motivated violence include the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), Fatah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Abu Nidal Organization, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hamas. The PLO officially renounced terrorism in 1988, and Fatah says it no longer engages in terrorism, although the Authority continues to incentivize terrorism by awarding large stipends to the families of Palestinians killed or arrested while committing acts of terrorism via the Palestinian Authority Martyr's Fund, payouts that absorb 7% of the Authority's national budget. The PFLP-GC has been internationally inactive. The Abu Nidal organization all but dissolved on his death and exists only in name.Tactics have included hostage taking, plane hijackings, stone throwing, stabbing, shootings, and bombings. Several of these groups are considered terrorist organizations by the United States government, Canada and the European Union.Palestinian political violence has targeted Israelis, Palestinians, Lebanese, Jordanians, Egyptians, Americans and citizens of other countries. The attacks have taken place within and outside Israel and have been directed at both military and civilian targets. Israeli statistics state that 3,500 Israelis have been killed and 25,000 have been wounded as a result of Palestinian violence since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. These figures include soldiers as well as civilians, including those killed in exchanges of gunfire. Israeli statistics listing 'hostile terrorist attacks' also include incidents in which stones are thrown. Suicide bombings constituted just 0.5% of Palestinian attacks against Israelis in the first two years of the Al Aqsa Intifada, though this percentage accounted for half of the Israelis killed in that period.Personal grievances, trauma, or revenge against Israel are widely maintained to form an important element in motivating attacks against Israelis.

Samir Kuntar

Samir Kuntar (Arabic: سمير القنطار‎, also transcribed Sameer, Kantar, Quntar, Qantar; 20 July 1962 – 19 December 2015) was a Lebanese Druze member of the Palestine Liberation Front and Hezbollah. He was convicted of terrorism and murder by an Israeli court. After his release from prison as part of the 2008 Israel–Hezbollah prisoner exchange, he received Syria's highest medal, honored by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and designated a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the US government.In Israel, Kuntar is considered the perpetrator of one of the most brutal terrorist attacks in the country's history. On 22 April 1979, at the age of 16, Kuntar participated in the killing of an Israeli policeman and the attempted kidnapping of an Israeli family in Nahariya that resulted in the deaths of four Israelis and two of his fellow kidnappers.

Kuntar and his team broke into an apartment building and kidnapped a father, 31-year-old Danny Haran, and his 4-year-old daughter, Einat, taking them to a nearby beach. According to eyewitnesses and forensic reports, Kuntar shot Danny to death at close range, and then killed the girl Einat by smashing her skull against the rocks with the butt of his rifle. During the attack, Smadar Haran accidentally suffocated her two-year-old daughter Yael to death while attempting to quiet her whimpering, which would have revealed their hiding place. Newsweek states that the details of Kuntar's attack are "so sickening they give pause even to some of Israel's enemies."After his release, Kuntar became a senior official in Hezbollah. According to Druze sources, Hezbollah put Kuntar in charge of the Quneitra Governorate during the Syrian Civil War, where he commanded attacks against Israeli targets. According to the US government, Kuntar played an operational role, with the assistance of Iran and Syria, in "building up Hezbollah's terrorist infrastructure in the Golan Heights".On 19 December 2015, Kuntar was killed by an explosion in the outskirts of Damascus. According to official Syrian sources, Kuntar was killed by "terrorist rocket attack". On 20 December 2015, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi described the incident as a terrorist operation "plotted beforehand", noting that Syrian authorities were carrying out an investigation to find out how the operation happened. Hezbollah claimed that the building was destroyed by an air-to-surface missile launched by Israeli Air Force jets. On 21 December, the Free Syrian Army released a video clip claiming responsibility for killing Kuntar.

Prominent terrorist attacks against Israelis in the history of the Arab–Israeli conflict – the 1970s
Prominent Palestinian militancy attacks in the 1970s
Within Israel
Within the Gaza Strip
Aircraft attacks and hijackings

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