The four victims killed during last year’s terrorist attack. From left: Ilana Nave, Dr. Michael Feige, Mila Mishayev and Ido Ben-Ari..
(photo credit: DANNY MECHLIS/BGU)
Three Arab terrorists involved in a shooting spree that killed four Israelis at a restaurant in Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market in June last year were convicted of murder at the Tel Aviv District Court on Monday.
Two of the killers, cousins Mahmoud Mahamrah, 22, and Khaled Mahamrah, 21, from the West Bank village of Yatta near Hebron, said they were inspired by ISIS.
According to the indictment, on June 8, 2016, the terrorists came to the popular market and randomly opened fire on civilians dining at the Max Brenner Café using makeshift Carl Gustav sub-machine guns.
Dr. Michael Feige, 58, of Midreshet Ben-Gurion; Ido Ben-Ari, 42, of Ramat Gan; and Mila Mishayev, 32, of Rishon Lezion were killed at the scene. The fourth victim, Ilana Nave, 39, of Tel Aviv, fled the restaurant when the shooting began, but fell and lost consciousness. She later died at an area hospital.
Mahmoud Mahamrah said he became an Islamic State admirer while studying in Jordan before returning to Yatta in January of 2016. Khaled Mahamrah said he began thinking about carrying out the attack in August of 2015, following the murders of the Palestinian Dawabshe family in Duma the preceding month.
The third man convicted of aiding and abetting the cousins, Yunis Aish Musa Zin, 22, of Yatta, planned to carry out the attack as well. However, moments before the bloodshed, the cousins told Zin he could not participate because “he had debts and Islam forbids martyrdom while holding debts.”
Zin admitted to helping supply the killers with their weapons, which included knives dipped in rat poison.
The indictment stated that the cousins originally conspired to attack passengers traveling on a train. Their plan included purchasing clothing to look like businessmen, as well as getting haircuts to appear authentic.
However, they changed their tactics when they saw the train station’s metal detectors.
Instead, they walked to Sarona, where they fired on the crowd until their weapons jammed, and then fled as security forces fired at them.
Khaled was apprehended after being shot, while Mahmoud was later arrested while hiding in a nearby residence.
“The terrorists rose from their seats at the Max Brenner Cafe, drew their weapons and started indiscriminately shooting civilians,” Judge Sara Dotan said in her ruling.
Following Monday’s verdict, Nave’s husband, Alon, demanded the death penalty.
“They need to be sentenced to death,” Ynet reported him saying. “I was worried that they would not be convicted of her murder, and this is why I came here today. I’m glad they were convicted. The fitting punishment is death [penalty] and the expulsion of their families.”
Zin’s attorney said he plans to appeal his client’s murder conviction to a lesser charge.
“We stand firm in our claim that he had no part in the attack,” the attorney said.
“The minority opinion determined he cannot be convicted of four counts of murder, but only of aiding and abetting,” he added.