Tuesday, June 28, 2011

King David Hotel Bombing

While reading about the Taliban attack on the Kabul Intercontinental Hotel I couldn't help thinking about the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem 65 years ago next month.
The King David Hotel (KDH) bombing was the work of the Irgun, a Jewish terrorist organization operating in the Palestine British Mandate. One of the Irgun's leaders was the future Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin. There is a world of difference between the two attacks.
  • The KDH bombing was a more efficient attack, killing 91, than the Kabul attack which appears to have killed six.
  • It was not a suicide attack, the Irgun planted its bomb in the basement and left.
  • The Irgun did attempt to minimize deaths by calling in three bomb threats, all where ignored. The Taliban gave no warning.
  • The bombing was a specific attack against the British authority whose headquarters were in the hotel and the bomb was sited to do the most damage to the British wing of the hotel. The Kabul attack appears mostly random.
The Irgun blamed the British for the high casualty count because of the ignored warnings. However, Irgun Radio announced that while it would mourn the Jewish deaths it would not mourn British victims. The British blamed all Jewish independence organizations.
[We were] facing a cruel, fanatical and cunning enemy, and there was no way of knowing who was friend and who foe. ~ Gen. Bernard Montgomery speaking of the Jewish people
Still, both attacks gain points for audacity and as a sign that there is no place for occupation forces to feel safe.

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