The Tyre HQ Bombing – First Suicide Attack against Israel (1983)

On November 4 1983 at 06:00, a car bomb loaded with approximately 600kg of explosives, infiltrated an IDF HQ located at the outskirts of Tyre which contained an ISA and an Israel Border Police (IBP) interrogations facility.


The explosion resulted in 60 fatalities: 28 security personnel (16 IBP men, 9 soldiers, and 3 ISA men) as well as 31 out of 46 Lebanese who had been detained at the facility at the time of the attack. Moreover, 23 people were injured.

 

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the Lebanese Resistance Front claimed responsibility for the attack. This attack was considered to be the first suicide attack against Israel.

 

 

More details
The driver of the explosive vehicle, who was under the influence of drugs, arrived with the vehicle from Baalbek in the Beqaa Valley. He headed south on the road between Tyre and Sidon. When passing Tyre's southern outskirts, the driver headed east towards IDF HQ.

 

Upon arriving at the barrier at the entry to the base, the driver speeded his car, breaking through the barrier at an alarming speed. The guards opened fire at the car managing to slow it down yet could not fully stop it. The suicide bomber crossed through the inner premises, positioned himself between two buildings which belonged to the ISA and the IBP, and blew himself up. The blast brought both buildings down. 

 

Since the attack took place at such an early-morning hour, many lives were sparred as most soldiers were still sleeping in their tents. It should be mentioned that this attack was considered to be the second disaster in Tyre. A year before, an explosion on November 11 1982 at 07:15, destroyed the Israeli military government building in Tyre.

 

The seven-storey structure collapsed with people inside it. This attack resulted in 91 fatalities – 67 IDF and IBP soldiers, 9 ISA men, and 15 local detainees), as well as 27 casualties. The reason for the explosion was probably a gas leakage and inadequate planning and construction of the building. A probe was set up inquiring and deciding that the explosion had nothing to do with a terror attack since no explosives were found at the building or nearby.