Sarona Terrorists Planned to Attack Train, Indictment Says

YERUSHALAYIM -
Palestinian suspects are brought to court for a hearing on their involvement in the deadly shooting attack at Sarona Market, Tel Aviv, on Junly 4, 2016. Two Palestinian terrorists shot and killed 4 Israelis, and injuring several more, at the Sarona Market shopping center in tel Aviv, on June 8. Photo by Flash90 *** Local Caption *** áéú îùôè çùåãéí úì àáéá îúçí ùøåðä îùèøä ôéâåò éøé ôöåò
Palestinian suspects are brought to court for a hearing on their involvement in the deadly shooting attack at Sarona Market, Tel Aviv, on Monday. (Flash90)

An indictment was handed down Monday against Khaled and Muhammad Makhmara, the two terrorists who opened fire outside the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv last month. Also indicted was Yunas Zain, who provided assistance for the two.

All three have been indicted for conspiracy to commit murder, with the Makhmara brothers charged with the murders of the four victims – Ido Ben Ari, a 42-year-old resident of Ramat Gan; Ilana Naba, a 39-year-old from Tel Aviv; Michael Feige, a 58-year-old from Givatayim; and Mila Mishayev, a 32-year-old resident of Ashkelon.

According to the indictment, the terrorists decided to undertake the attack in mid-2015, venting their anger over the act of arson that burned down the home of the Dawabshe family in the village of Duma in 2014. In that incident, two houses in the Arab village went up in flames after being firebombed by masked attackers, whom the Shin Bet believes to be Jews. In one house, an 18-month-old baby was burned to death, while his parents eventually died of their injuries later.

The Shin Bet has been looking for suspects in the case since then, concentrating on its theory that the arson was carried out by Jewish radicals. No arrests were ever made specifically regarding the case. Three right-wing Jewish activists, including Meir Ettinger, were held in administrative detention for about six months in connection with the case. Ettinger was released last month after prosecutors failed to build a case against him.

According to the indictment, the terrorists originally planned to attack an Israel Railways train. In preparation, they acquired weapons and bought suits in order to appear as Israeli businessmen, and checked trains schedules, locations, and other information needed to carry out the attack. On or about June 7, they arranged with a driver to take them into Israel, and traveled to Beer Sheva, where they planned to get on the train. Noticing the heavy security, they changed their minds and took a taxi to Tel Aviv, getting off near the Hashalom train station, where security systems, including metal detectors, kept them off the train.

They then began asking passerby for locations where many people were gathered, like restaurants, and eventually reached Sarona, where they took out their weapons and opened fire at about 9:30 p.m. They attempted to escape, with Khaled shot by a security guard as he ran away, and Muhammad arrested after he tried to take refuge in the apartment of a police officer who was searching for the terrorists.

The three “volunteered” for IS, according to the indictment. Although apparently not part of an “official” IS cell, they took photos of themselves in front of an IS flag and told acquaintances that they were carrying out the attack in the terror group’s name.