'Quiet will return but not the sense of security'

Dimona residents speak in the wake of the bombing.

dimona resident 88 (photo credit: Shelly Paz)
dimona resident 88
(photo credit: Shelly Paz)
Ella was so shaken by Monday's suicide bombing, the first in her southern city, that she did not know if she would open her Dimona boutique the next day. As evening fell she stood outside her store in the commercial center - near the location of the attack's sole fatality - and tried to figure out what to do. "It changes everything. Now, nothing will be safe again," she said in despair. From time to time people approached her and said they were happy to see she was okay. "Thank God I wasn't here, but who can promise me I would have the same luck next time?" she asked as she wrapped herself more tightly in her coat. She was not alone. The city center was filled with anxious residents whose harmonious routine was profoundly altered. "I never believed the city's quiet would be interrupted by terrorists. We always had the feeling that this place is outside of the conflict," said Eitan Naguker, 30, a Dimona native. Naguker, who passed by the scene a few minutes before the explosion, ran home when he understood what it was. "I was standing outside the building, shaking. I smoked a cigarette and tried to relax. It didn't help so I went back home to lie down. I believe the quiet will return to the city in two days, but not the sense of security," Naguker said. While the area had been cleaned from the blast's initial impact, the center was still a visual testament to the morning's events. Dozens of locals gathered there, compared notes and sought a sympathetic ear. Abu Michael, a retired employee of the Israel Prisons Service, said that the terror attack had happened because the entire city center was breached and insecure. "The atmosphere here today was of stress and fear. Parents rushed to pick up their children from schools and went back home, where they know it is safe," he said. Smadar, 25, said, "I think I'll be more cautious from now on. This is a really scary and uncomfortable situation, to check people around you and to be aware of the possibility that something can happen." Others were more optimistic. "I'm sure we'll have to be more alert now, but we'll [go back to being] the warm and loving city we're known as," said David Gez, a Dimona resident and father of four.