JERUSALEM -- Yisrael Levy, 64, an underground fighter in Israel's struggle for independence who carried out the 1946 bombing of a Jerusalem hotel that killed 91 people, died Nov. 2. The place and cause of his death were not reported.
He belonged to Irgun Zvai Leumi, the militant Jewish underground that fought the British for independence in the 1940s under the leadership of Menachem Begin. Irgun carried out dozens of attacks on British army, government and police targets.
Its deadliest operation was the bombing of the King David, a luxury six-story hotel that housed the British Government Secretariat and army headquarters.
Mr. Levy, who was born in Jerusalem, joined Irgun at age 14 and used the nom de guerre of "Gideon." He was entrusted with the mission after having participated in a bombing of the British police headquarters in Jerusalem in 1945.
"Giddy's tremendous inventive and creative powers were called upon to the full," Begin recalled in his memoir, "The Revolt." Begin was prime minister of Israel from 1977 to 1983.
"It is not simple to penetrate the very heart of the military government . . . . We were well aware that this was the largest of our operations to date and that it might turn out to be unique in the history of partisan wars of liberation," Begin wrote.
On the morning of July 22, 1946, Mr. Levy and his accomplices entered the La Regence Cafe in the hotel basement dressed as Arabs and planted milk cans packed with 500 pounds of explosives. Mr. Levy reportedly was disguised as a Sudanese waiter.
No customers were in the cafe. The attackers locked La Regence's 15 Arab workers in a side room and set the timers to go off 30 minutes later. Two British officers who entered the cafe clashed with the attackers; one officer was shot to death, the other was wounded.
Outside the hotel, an Irgun cover team exchanged fire with British soldiers and then set off a firecracker. In the confusion, the attackers freed the Arabs and fled.
"Suddenly, the whole town seemed to shudder . . . the entire wing of a huge building was cut off as with a knife," Begin recalled.
The 200 casualties included 91 dead, among them senior British officers, 15 Jews who worked for the British government and several Arabs. One Irgun member was killed.
Begin said the Irgun had telephoned warnings to the hotel, the French Consulate and the Palestine Post newspaper about 25 minutes before the blast.
The bloodbath resulted in "days of pain and nights of sorrow" for the Irgun, Begin wrote.
The attack haunted Mr. Levy for years, according to friends quoted in the daily Yedioth Ahronoth. He stayed with the Irgun until it was disbanded in 1948, the year Israel won statehood. He later opened a stationery store and lived a quiet life in suburban Tel Aviv.
Surviors include his wife and three children.