Sarona Market Terrorists Get Four Life Sentences in Prison

YERUSHALAYIM -
A security guard stands at an entrance to the Sarona Market shopping center in Tel Aviv. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The Tel Aviv District Court on Wednesday sentenced the three terrorists who carried out a shooting terror attack at Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market in June 2016 to four life sentences each, plus an additional 60 years in prison. Killed in that attack were Ido Ben-Ari, Hy”d, a 42-year-old resident of Ramat Gan; Ilana Naveh, Hy”d, 39, from Tel Aviv; Michael Fayga, Hy”d, 58, from Midreshet Ben Gurion; and Mila Mashiv, Hy”d, 32, from Ramat Gan. Seven other Israelis were wounded in the attack.

The three terrorists were: Yunas Awad, who helped plan the attack, provided weapons for it and provided assistance for: Khaled and Muhammad Mahamra, who did the shooting in the terror attack, to get to Tel Aviv from the village of Yatta, where they lived. They were indicted on four counts of murder, and 41 counts of attempted murder.

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. Two houses in that Arab village went up in flames after being firebombed by masked attackers, a crime for which two Israelis have been indicted. In one house, an 18-month-old baby was burned to death, while his parents eventually died of their injuries later.

The terrorists originally planned to attack an Israel Railways train, police investigators said. In preparation, they acquired weapons and bought suits in order to appear as Israeli businessmen, and checked trains schedules, locations, etc. On or about June 7, 2016, 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.

They began asking passersby for locations where many people were gathered, like restaurants, and eventually reached the Sarona Market in central Tel Aviv, where they took out their weapons and opened fire. They then 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 had “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.