Officials Question How Rami Levy Stabbers Got Past Security Guards

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli soldiers stand guard as a medic checks an Israeli man near the scene of a stabbing attack near the West Bank city of Ramallah February 18, 2016. Two Palestinians stabbed and wounded two Israelis, one seriously, inside a supermarket in a settlement in the occupied West Bank and were then shot and taken for treatment at Israeli hospitals in Jerusalem, the Israeli military said. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Israeli soldiers stand guard as a medic checks an Israeli man near the scene of a stabbing attack in Rami Levy in Sha’ar Binyamin, Thursday. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

The IDF and security officials were investigating on Friday how two Arab teens managed to get past two security guards in the Sha’ar Binyamin shopping center Thursday to get into the Rami Levy supermarket, where they killed IDF soldier Tuvia Yanai Weissman, Hy”d, and seriously wounded a second person, 31- year-old Avi Avital of Tel Zion, in a stabbing attack, Channel Ten reported. Officials said that the incident would require an in-depth analysis of the effectiveness of the current security system, where demobilized IDF soldiers, as well as older security industry veterans, check bags and vehicles of individuals entering stores, cafés, government offices, and shopping centers, asking them whether or not they are carrying weapons.

The levayah for Weissman was held Friday morning. He was interred at the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Yerushalayim. In a hesped, Rabbi Shmuel Natanson, who heads the pre-military academy where Weissman studied before his service, said that “Yanai was a family man, a son, a father, a student, and a man bringing light and laughter to those who knew him. As of last night, all of Am Yisrael knows him, and he is a part of them, too. We spoke many times late into the night, discussing many deep ideas, because you were a man of truth.”

Weissman, 22, a resident of Ma’aleh Michmash, was shopping with hie wife and daughter in the Rami Levy supermarket when he was killed. The U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem said Weissman was an American citizen.

The two terrorists, Ayham Bassam Ibrahim Subih and Omar Salim Rimawi, are both 14-year-old Palestinians from the nearby village of Betunia. According to witnesses, the two entered the shopping center where the Rami Levy situation supermarket is situated, passing the “inspection” of a security guard at the entrance, and then entering the market itself, where another security guard check them and waved them on. Presumably, they were asked if they were carrying weapons – which they were, two long knives they used in the attack.

The two reportedly walked the aisles for 20 minutes, pointing out potential stabbing victims to each other before deciding on their targets. They then dispersed and went on a rampage, wildly stabbing at their intended victims. When shoppers saw the terrorists attacking, they began ramming them with shopping carts. The terrorists were killed when two armed shoppers drew their guns and fired. Both terrorists were hit and hospitalized. Both were injured seriously, and later died of their wounds.

In the aftermath of the attack, officials were seriously examining the security procedures at the site, as well as security procedures at other stores and institutions which follow the same system. Speaking to Channel Ten, Levy said that he was cooperating with officials. He denied that he had been called in for questioning, and that the Sha’ar Binyamin outlet had been closed by security officials pending an investigation. “There are soldiers at the entrance to the shopping area, as well as a security guard” employed by the shopping area management, Levy said. All the rumors on a lack of security and a closure of the store were untrue, he added. “We were open on Thursday night 20 minutes after the terror attack.”

Rami Levy operates supermarkets in areas of Yehudah and Shomron, including in Beitar, Efrat, Sha’ar Binyamin, and outside Modi’in, and the chain employs many Palestinians.