Anguish for terror victims' families over Shalit swap

By Jennifer Lipman, October 17, 2011
A memorial to the victims of the 405 bus attack

A memorial to the victims of the 405 bus attack

The mother of a teenager who was killed in a terrorist attack 22 years ago has spoken of her sadness that the perpetrator will be released as part of the Gilad Shalit deal.

Kinneret Cohen was 14 when she died, along with 15 others, after Abed al-Hadi Ganaim attacked on a bus going from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The assault on the number 405 bus saw Ganaim seize control of the vehicle and drive it off a cliff.

Ganaim is expected to be one of the 477 prisoners swapped for Israeli captive Gilad Shalit this week, in order to secure the soldier's return.

While much of Israel is celebrating, the swap – which will ultimately involve more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners – has caused anguish to the families of those killed at the hands of those who will soon walk free.

Dalia Cohen said she was happy Gilad would be coming home. "I am also a mother…I know how much I would want to get my child back," she added. "But I cannot rejoice. I feel like I am betraying my daughter."

"I am torn to pieces."

Mrs Cohen is not alone. Today in Jerusalem's High Court of Justice, the families of at least four terrorism victims will submit pleas to stay the release of those convicted of the attacks. Gilad's father Noam will be in court to make a statement.

Among those in court will be members of the Schijveschuurder family, who saw five relatives killed in a suicide bombing in 2001 at the Sbarro café in Jerusalem branch, including two-year-old Hemda Schijveschuurder.

In total, 15 people died in the blast. Ahlam Tamimi, who disguised herself as a Jewish woman and drove the bomber to the venue, was sentenced to 16 life terms in jail. She is also set to be freed.

Last updated: 3:28pm, October 17 2011