Scene of stabbing in South Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: BEN HARTMAN)
A Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court judge on Wednesday extended by one week the remand of Raed Khalil, a 36-year-old father of five who stabbed two Jews to death in a terrorist attack in the city on November 19.
Judge Yaron Gat ordered the police to bring a pre-indictment motion against Khalil, who has confessed to the attack and reenacted it for police.
According to Ch.-Insp. Asaf Baranes, the head of the investigative team that questioned Khalil, the attacker said that he wanted to kill Jews and become a shahid (martyr) and assumed that police would kill him during the attack.
“We wanted to understand what drove a married man with five kids and a legal permit to work in Israel to do this and we still haven’t received an answer to this question,” Baranes said.
He noted that police believe the attack was spontaneous, that on November 19 Khalil just decided to take a knife and walk to the Panorama building on Ben-Tzvi Street in south Tel Aviv and look for victims.
Khalil walked up to the second floor of the building and began attacking worshipers at a prayer service inside a Judaica store, stabbing to death Aviram Reuven, 51, from Ramle and Aharon Yisayev, 32, from Holon. He then ran down to the first floor and attacked and wounded a third man, before he was overpowered by civilians and held for police.
It was originally believed that Khalil worked at one of the restaurants near the building, but that has since been ruled out.
On the day of the attack, police arrested several illegal Palestinian laborers at restaurants near the scene of the crime, but they were later released.
On Wednesday in court, officer Tal Kaufman said the police still need 12 days to finish investigating the case against Khalil, but that the case no longer requires a gag order.
Kaufman said police have collected surveillance footage of the stabbing and have interviewed a large number of witnesses to the attack, during which Khalil was caught in the act.
At an earlier hearing held for Khalil on November 23, a police officer told the court, “This was a chilling incident; it was one of the worst crime scenes I’ve ever seen.”
Khalil was the first Palestinian attacker in the ongoing wave of terrorism who had an Israeli work permit.
The attack came only a few hours before a Palestinian shooting attack in the West Bank killed three Jews – including an American citizen – on the deadliest day of last month.