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Survivors face agony
in suicide attacks

“Suicide bomber kills 3,” the headline reports.

It’s become an all-too-familiar story in urban settings in Israel, as terrorists wage a war of attrition against beleaguered civilians surrounded by a sea of hostility.

But the rising death toll from such atrocities is only half the story, says a radiologist from Evanston Northwestern Health Care in Illinois. The other, untold part is the horrors the survivors of such gruesome attacks must endure – sometimes for the rest of their lives.

Front view of a pelvis imbedded with nails and metal fragments.

X-rays taken from victims of suicide bombings reveal pieces of metallic fragments embedded in their skin, muscles, organs and bones, says Dr. Michael Messing, who visited the victims of suicide bombings while at the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Suicide bombers pack their bombs with nails and other objects so even survivors of suicide bombings will suffer from the bomb’s effects.

“They’re trying to maximize the number of people they kill and injure,” said Messing of the terrorists.

These bombs, which Messing says are sometimes funded by Palestinian authorities including Yasser Arafat, are packed with spikes, nails, screws, nuts, bullets, mortar, ball bearings and even rat poison.

“What were originally created for constructive purposes have been transformed by Arab terrorists into cruel, deadly, destructive projectiles,” said Messing. “The nails fly like bullets, head first, penetrating skin, flesh and bone. The unprecedented wave of suicide bombings has presented a whole new set of medical challenges.”

Front view of an abdomen imbedded with nails and metal fragments.

Rabbi Immanuel Yosef Legomsky is a neurotherapist at Jerusalem’s Menucha v’Simcha Neurofeedback Clinic. He said treating Israeli victims of Palestinian terror “is the major mental and physical health problem here today.”

“[The Palestinians’] goal is to do as much damage as possible and destroy functional life where they fail to actually kill. Their result is that often those who live and their relatives suffer much more than those who die,” he said.

Reports of people being injured in suicide bombings are not rare. Since September 2000, 498 Israelis have been killed and 4,021 injured in acts of Palestinian violence. In suicide bombings alone, 208 Israelis have died. On Monday, there were several reports on the suicide bomber who killed an 18-month-old baby girl and her grandmother and left 27 people injured. The reports, however, rarely go into the medical details to explain just what is meant by “injured.”

Side view of lower back and abdomen. Note orientation of whole nails that entered head first.

At a Tel Aviv nightclub June 1, a suicide bomber left 15-year-old Alona Shportova with serious brain damage and paralysis. She also had some of her limbs lacerated. In the suicide bombing of Dec. 1, Eran Mizrahi suffered a nail through his skull. He was celebrating his 16th birthday at a restaurant in Jerusalem. His injury left him paralyzed and in a catatonic state.

Messing said one of the victims he saw while in Jerusalem had around 300 individual metallic fragments within his body. The metal fragments, measuring from millimeters to centimeters, were imbedded in the young man literally from head to toe, he said.

“Several of the fragments penetrated into his vital organs. He sustained a punctured colon, a collapsed lung, and a lacerated liver and kidney. I could actually feel the nails under his skin where they had burrowed and lodged,” Messing recalls.

The victim underwent painstaking hours of exploration to try to remove the metal fragments that were accessible.

“He suffered multiple organ injuries, but was saved with successful emergency room care and surgery,” he said. “Other victims suffered amputated limbs, severe burns, fractures, lacerations, paralysis, deafness and blindness.”

Sometimes the fragments will cause more damage if they are taken out, Messing said, so some of the victims live the rest of their agonizing lives with shrapnel still inside of them.

“It is common knowledge here that light injury can be losing a limb; medium is nearly dead or doubtful if he will live or radically altered functionality,” Legomsky says. “Serious almost always means most of these victims wish they were dead physically.”

“Terror is traumatizing our society-victims, their families and friends, witnesses, health and law professionals, and children,” he said.

CT scan of head. Metal, bone, blood and air are within normal brain tissue.

“The most profoundly wrenching illustration is the now normal … statements of young Jewish children like, ‘Soon I may be killed by a sniper,’ ‘Mommy, isn’t that an Arab next to us, I am afraid,’ ‘Mommy, please don’t go shopping – I love you and I don’t want to be an orphan,'” he said. “Little children have been brutally robbed of their childhood and filled with blood-curdling, heart-rending terror.”

“It has literally affected the entire nation on a psychological level,” Messing said.

Messing said the Israelis have suffered much in ongoing pain and rehabilitation for terror victims and even in depression disorders and anxiety for the general public. He contends, however, that the Palestinians will not win.

He said, “The Palestinian martyr’s weapon has literally and figuratively penetrated the hearts, souls and bodies of the Jewish nation. It is past the time for the civilized world to recognize this as terror at its worst.”

Meanwhile, Legomsky plans to offer free treatment financed by charity organizations to those victims who suffer from Palestinian terror. The “Save Israel Project” is engaged in a unique humanitarian project to offer free treatment and emotional rehabilitation for Jewish and Arab Christian victims. The Menucha V’Simcha Neurofeedback Clinic is soliciting tax-deductible donations at its headquarters, “Save Israel Project” P.O. Box 43277, Jerusalem, Israel.


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