Vendors, shoppers pick up the pieces after bombing at Tel Aviv marketplace

tel aviv | A rare oasis of Arab-Jewish coexistence was shattered Monday, Nov. 1, when a 16-year-old Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up in a Tel Aviv market, killing at least three people and injuring 32.

Here in the market’s narrow alleyways, Arabs and Jews work side by side, and foreign workers, immigrants and native Israelis pick over the same tomatoes.

But after the deadly bombing, which occurred amid the bustle of mid-morning shopping, splattered sweet potatoes and toppled stacks of children’s clothing lay strewn alongside the dead and injured on the pavement of the open-air Carmel market.

“The people here are real, they yell, they shout, but they are the most genuine people you will ever meet,” said Ronen Gil, 37, who runs his family’s butcher shop a few yards from where the bomb went off. “You don’t know who is Arab and who is Jewish. We are all together here.”

Arabs and Jews own shops in the market. Gil said one of the injured was an Arab who makes a living selling dates and guavas. Both Arabs and Jews rushed to help the injured.

The bombing killed Shmuel Levy, 65, of Jaffa; Tatiyana Akerman, 32, of Tel Aviv; and Lea Levin, 64, of Givatayim; and about 32 were injured. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility and identified the bomber as teenager Amar al-Far, from a refugee camp near the West Bank city of Nablus.

Troops and tanks rolled into Askar refugee camp near the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday, Nov. 2, razing the family home of the teenage terrorist. They also destroyed houses belonging to his dispatchers from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Police officials on the scene said the bomb itself was relatively small.

The sign over the Shamai Cheese Shop hung broken in two, its glass shattered on the ground below. Nearby, in one of the market’s busiest sections, the bomber had detonated his explosives.

Despite the chaos, a handful of shoppers still arrived at a fruit stand north of the bombing site. Money was exchanged, bags of bananas bought.

“It’s natural that we are still open,” said Moshe Avraham, 32, as he ate an avocado sandwich at his stand. “You cannot just close. This is our living.’