Scene of stabbing in South Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: BEN HARTMAN)
The terrorist who stabbed five people in Tel Aviv’s Panorama building was convicted in the District Court on Thursday for the murders of Aviram Reuven and Aharon Yisayev and attempting to murder three others.
Raed Khalil, a 36-year-old from Dura near Hebron and a father of five who had a 30-day residency permit in Israel, was working at a local restaurant on November 19, when he went on a rampage.
Reuven, 51, was from Ramle, and Yisayev, 32, was from Holon.
The attack began around 2 p.m., when Khalil walked up to the second floor of the building on Ben-Zvi Boulevard in south Tel Aviv and began stabbing worshipers outside an afternoon minha service being held inside a Judaica store.
One worshiper, Shimon Vaknin, said that moments after the prayer service began, he saw a man covered in blood enter the store and fall onto a group of people who were praying. Khalil tried to continue the assault inside the store, but was pushed back by worshipers, who held the doors closed as he tried to force his way back in.
He continued his attack outside the store, fatally stabbing another man before fleeing to a lower floor. On the next level he stabbed another man and was chased into a shoe warehouse, where civilians overpowered him and held him until police arrived.
The Panorama is a doughnut-shaped building of open floors with a ramp that climbs to the top. The building is open to the street and easily entered without a security check.
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Sigal Pinchas, an employee of a small publishing house across from the Judaica store, also saw the attack unfold. She fought back tears as she described her brush with death and the brutality she had just witnessed meters away.
“I was walking to my car, which was parked right outside the [Judaica] store, when I realized I forgot my keys and came back to the office. As I was walking in, I heard shouting and ran in and locked the door,” she said at the time.
Pinchas then described peeking through the blinds as the terrorist stabbed a young man repeatedly in the chest, as she called police.
“I was supposed to be right there,” she said, shaking her head and walking back inside the office.
Khalil worked legally at a restaurant near the scene of the attack and had no history of security offenses.
Ben Hartman contributed to this report.
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