Today, the L.A. Israeli community and others gathered at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) for a memorial service, marking the 10-year anniversary of a terrorist attack at the El Airlines check-in counter of LAX that resulted in the deaths of Victoria Hen, 25 and Yaacov Aminov, 46.
“I want to thank everybody [for] coming over here and respecting and supporting me, Vicky, my family,” said Avi Hen, surviving father of Victoria. “We are the family, we are never going to forget this, but I hope you guys keep coming every year to this…memorial day and I hope the media [that] they are going to show it every Fourth of July somewhere to remind the people…that there is something [that] happened here July 4, 2002.”
Today’s memorial service marked a decade since the deadly attack. On July 4, 2002, Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, an Egyptian immigrant, opened fire at the El-Al Check in counter of LAX, killing Hen and Aminov and wounding four others. An El Al ticket agent at the time, Hen was working that day, and Aminov was accompanying a friend to the airport. Security gunned down Hadayet within seconds of the attack.
The memorial service drew approximately 65 people, including Hen’s father, mother Rachel Hen, brother Udi Hen, uncle and friends – Aminov’s immediate family lives in Israel and was not in attendance—who gathered in a small outdoor plaza outside the Tom Bradley International Terminal around 11 a.m. on Wednesday to pay their respects, with LAPD officers guarding the area.
Speakers at the event included Avi Hen; Danny Gadot, consul of consular affairs at the Consulate General of Israel Los Angeles; Klaus Benamy-Hackel, former El Al Airlines LAX station chief and the person who hired Hen; Scott Jacobs of media site DemoCast and Amani Mustafa, a former Muslim who has converted to Christianity.
Story continues after the jump.
Lasting approximately one hour, the memorial service also included a moment of silence in Victoria’s honor. Newspaper clippings about the attack and the criminal investigation that followed and photos of Hen were on display. Several news outlets turned up, as was the hope of the service’s organizers. Friends of Hen’s family, including Nurit Greenberg, Orly Halevy and Ilana Kadish; Jacobs and the Consulate General of Israel Los Angeles organized the event, using social media to get the word out to the community and media outlets.
Speakers struggled to be heard over the sound of airplanes overhead, but the message of sorrow and hope that such an attack wouldn’t be repeated was clear.
“Independence means freedom,” Gadot said, “and the world will not be truly free as long as there is terrorism.”