Shooting on Hagiborim street in Haifa, Jan. 3, 2017.
(photo credit: EFFY SCHNAPPER/ MDA)
Nationalistic intent was the motive for the January 3 shooting attack that left one Israeli killed and another moderately wounded in Haifa, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) cleared for publication on Monday.
According to the Shin Bet, the interrogation of Muhammad Shinawi, a resident of the Haifa neighborhood of Halisa, revealed that he had deliberately shot Guy Cafri, 47, and Yechiel Illouz, 48, with a Carlo Gustav gun that he had in his possession because of his "hatred for Jews."
Cafri was killed and Illouz, a judge on the Haifa Rabbinical Court was seriously injured in the pair of shootings, which shook the coastal city.
Initially, police suspected a criminal motive for the pair of shootings and the victims - who are not known to police as persons of interests - were shot in a case of mistaken identity. Yet, as the case developed nationalistic motivations have become the central suspicion.
On Monday, Shinawi was indicted in the Haifa District Court on charges of murder, attempted murder and the use of a firearm for the intent of terrorism.
According to the Shin Bet, he had set fire to Jewish vehicles during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and his hatred of Jews had intensified in recent years as his religious belief was “Jews are heretics who deserve to be killed.” The catalyst for the attack reportedly stemmed from his girlfriend who said that he “loved Jews,” and called him a “Zionist Jew.”
The Shin Bet said that Shinawi arrived to downtown Haifa where he saw and followed an Orthodox Jew, Illouz, before he shot and wounded him.
According to the Shin Bet, during the investigation it became clear that while Shinawi was running away from the scene, he shot at a nearby Jewish woman who identified him, but was not injured. As he continued to run to his neighborhood of Halisa, Shinawi identified an additional Jewish man, Cafri, shooting and killing him.
Shinawi concealed the weapon he used in the attack, along with other personal belongings, in the woods next to his parent’s home. He also received assistance from two individuals, Khaled Adel Suleiman Abu Khalib and Ihab Ayoub Mahmoud Yousef.
Shinawi is said to have met the two and asked them to bring him to Brenner Street in Haifa, sharing with them his intention to steal a motorbike and asking Yousef for a butcher’s knife for self-defense.
According to the Shin Bet, during the investigation a minor was also arrested for bringing Shinawi the weapon used to carry out the attack. An indictment was filed against the minor. Indictments were also filed against Abu Khalib and Yousef for providing means for committing a terrorist act and obstruction of justice, among charges.