After the bombing, Hadera tries to heal

Municipality workers on Thursday continued clearing the debris and cleaning the streets at the site of Wednesday's suicide bombing attack in Hadera's market that claimed the lives of five Israelis, four of them city residents.

As schools reopened after the Succot holiday, Hadera Mayor Haim Avitan visited a number of educational establishments to speak with pupils, teachers and principals. He also visited the wounded in Hillel Yaffe Hospital and worked with the teams making funeral arrangements for those who were killed.

In between, Avitan visited the scene of the deadly attack, which was perpetrated by Hassan Abu Zeid, 20, an Islamic Jihad member from Kabatiya in the West Bank. The mayor was accompanied by British Ambassador Simon McDonald; Ramiro Cibrian, the head of the delegation of the European Commission to Israel; and Austrian Ambassador Kurt Hengl, who laid a wreath at the site.

Some aspects of life in Hadera will remain changed for some time to come. Coastal District police chief Lt.-Cmdr. David Sisso issued a closure order for the entire market quarter after police concluded that lax security measures at the open market - basically a street lined with stalls - was one of the reasons it was targeted.

Stallholders themselves also complained after the attack about the dearth of security measures and called for a greater police presence to prevent any future incidents.

Until the explosion, which occurred around 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday, the market had been home to dozens of small businesses and grocery stalls, including the Barzilai felafel shop - a local institution for more than 60 years - where the suicide bomber blew himself up in a line of people waiting to be served.

Avitan said he intended to completely renovate the market quarter with the aid of funds promised by the government and from other sources. In the interim, however, the search is on to find alternative accommodation for the businesses that will have to be moved.

"We are doing everything and will do everything to reopen the market," Avitan told reporters on Thursday morning.

"The prime minister, the defense minister, the president and many other ministers called me on Wednesday night. They all offered assistance and aid... As residents, we love our city and our country. We don't have another country or another city. This is our home."

Immediately after the attack, teams of psychologists, social workers and counselors from the municipality's welfare department were set up to assist the victims and their families. They continued to do so throughout Thursday and after the funerals.

Meanwhile, at the request of police, the Hadera Magistrate's Court on Thursday morning imposed a publicity ban on all details of the investigation into the suicide bombing.