Sarona Market Terrorists Convicted of Four Murders

Israeli security forces at the scene where terrorists opened fire and killed four people at the Sarona Market shopping center in Tel Aviv in 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90 )

Three Arab terrorists who perpetrated the terror attack at Sarona Market in Tel Aviv in June 2016 were convicted Monday on four counts of murder. Convicted were Khaled and Muhammad Makhmara, who opened fire on the crowd at the market and in the streets near the site. Also convicted was Yunas Zain, who provided assistance for the two. Sentencing will be carried out at a later date.

The Makhmara brothers were 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. Hy”d.

Officials said that the terrorists decided to undertake the attack, seeking to “punish” Israel for its “occupation of Muslim lands,” Khaled Makhmara said in remarks to Channel 10 after the attack. “The Jews are occupiers and this land belongs to Muslims. The Jews are heretics, and therefore it is permissible to kill them. I believe Islam must rule in this area of the world. I sought to die as a martyr, the greatest death a Muslim can have.”

The terrorists told the court that they had considered several terror attacks. They entered Israel without permits, via a driver who took them to the town of Segev Shalom, near Be’er Sheva. There they changed clothes and went to the Be’er Sheva bus station, seeking to enter a large shopping center there. However, they were carrying weapons and decided not to enter, as they saw metal detectors at the entrance to the building.

The terrorists then planned to attack an Israel Railways train, security officials said. In preparation, they acquired weapons and bought suits in order to resemble Israeli businessmen, and checked train schedules, locations, etc. On or about June 7, they arranged with a driver to take them into Israel, and traveled to Be’er 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.

Eventually, they began asking passersby 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 then attempted to escape. Khaled was shot by a security guard as he ran away, and Muhammad was arrested after he tried to take refuge in the apartment of a police officer who was searching for the terrorists.

The three were also convicted of acting on behalf of IS, for which they “volunteered.” Although apparently not part of an official cell, they photographed themselves in front of an IS flag and told acquaintances they were carrying out the attack in the terror group’s name.