‘Deja vu’: The Tel Aviv bar owners who’ve had two venues targeted in terror attacks

The three owners of Ilka Bar, site of Thursday’s deadly attack, also own Simta Bar, just a few hundred meters away, where a gunman killed 2 people in 2016

Dean Reichel (L) and Gal Cohen, two of the owners of the Simta and Ilka bars in Tel Aviv, April 8, 2022 (Screen grab/Channel 12 news)
Dean Reichel (L) and Gal Cohen, two of the owners of the Simta and Ilka bars in Tel Aviv, April 8, 2022 (Screen grab/Channel 12 news)

The three owners of the Ilka Bar are trying to process Thursday’s deadly terror attack — six years after another bar they own just a few hundred meters away was also the scene of carnage, when a gunman killed three people on New Year’s Day, 2016.

One of the three owners of the bars, Dean Reichel, told Channel 12 news on Saturday that as soon as he heard about the attack on Thursday, while details were still shaky, he called the manager of the Ilka Bar.

“When I spoke to her, she answered me with extraordinary composure, she said to me: ‘Dean, it was here. We had a terror attack. There was shooting, there are dead people, there is blood on the floor. Come quickly,'” he recalled.

Three people were killed and at least 10 wounded when a gunman opened fire at the Ilka Bar on Thursday evening as it was packed with revelers marking the end of the working week.

Tomer Morad and Eytam Magini, two childhood friends, both aged 27, were killed immediately.

Barak Lufan, a 35-year-old father of three was critically wounded in the attack and died a day later.

The three victims of a terror attack in Tel Aviv on April 7, 2022. From left: Tomer Morad, Eytam Magini and Barak Lufen. (Courtesy)

Reichel said that parents of the people who had been drinking at the bar at the time of the attack somehow got his phone number and started calling non-stop, trying to find their children.

“They were calling us and saying, “Where is my child? he’s not answering,'” he recalled.

He said that one of the injured was a waitress working her first shift.

Police and rescue workers at the scene of a terror attack at the Ilka Bar in Tel Aviv, April 7, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/FLASH90)

“We already know what the families are going through — all the people with wounds and trauma. Sadly we know how this goes,” Reichel said. “The whole thing was deja vu. Really, really, really deja vu.”

The three own a number of bars in the area and explained that on Friday they made a makeshift memorial in each.

“We went to each of our bars and placed three candles on one of the tables — for the three who were murdered, and an Israeli flag,” Reichel said.

People light candles at the site of a terror attack, in Tel Aviv, April 8, 2022 (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

They brought out the memorial box kept in the storage area of Simta Bar, which was attacked in 2016.

An Islamic State-inspired terrorist killed two people in the shooting attack outside the Simta Bar, also on Tel Aviv’s busy Dizengoff Street.

Shift manager Alon Bakal, 26, and patron Shimon Ruimi, 30, were killed as the gunman opened fire with a submachine gun. The gunman, Nashat Milhem, later shot dead taxi driver Ayman Shaaban after fleeing the scene.

Israelis light candles at the Simta bar on Dizengoff Street in central Tel Aviv, on January 02, 2016, a day after two people were killed in a shooting there. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The bar owners said that the box was where they kept the candles and photos of those killed to be brought out every year on the anniversary of the attack.

“Now I’m beginning to understand that next year there will be two days that we do this,” Reichel said.

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