by: Ilse Posselt
Thursday, 09 June 2016 | They came to murder decked out primly in suits and ties. Dressed to kill, one could argue. A few minutes before 9:00 p.m. last night, Muhammad and Khalid Muhamra, two 21-year-old Palestinian cousins from a village called Yatta near Hebron, made their way to Tel Aviv’s upscale Sarona Market. The purpose of their trip was not to shop at Israel’s largest indoor culinary market or to browse among the over 91 shops, stalls and restaurants. The Muhamra cousins came with one goal: to murder as many Israelis as possible.
The two terrorists chose their target location well. The Sarona Market was crowded with people enjoying the balmy evening.
Just after 9:00 p.m., the young Palestinians sat down at an outside table in Max Brenner, an international restaurant franchise famous for its decadent chocolate treats. The terrorists ordered “Milky Fudge Brownies,” The Times of Israel reports, a dessert comprising “milk chocolate truffle cream, fudge brownies, white chocolate pieces and whipped cream.” It was, after all, well after sunset, the Ramadan fast for the day broken hours before.
But when their desserts arrived, the two well-dressed Palestinians could not be tempted by the sweet delights. They had come for other things.
Roughly fifteen minutes after taking a seat, the terrorists drew two Carl Gustav-style submachine guns from their suits and opened fire on the diners around them, The Times of Israel reports. CCTV footage of the carnage shows the ensuing chaos, as men, women and children frantically scrambled, screaming for their lives. One of the terrorists is seen shooting a man at point-blank range. The man stumbles, falls and then lies motionless.
The reign of terror lasted approximately a minute, after which the two terrorists tried to flee the scene. A security guard shot one of them, seriously injuring him. The police arrested the other, taking him for questioning. It is still unclear why they stopped firing. Some say they ran out of bullets. Others claim their weapons jammed.
Four people died in the Muhamra cousins’ massacre. Sixteen more were injured, three seriously. The injured terrorist is currently receiving treatment in the same hospital as those he tried to murder.
“We were sitting outside and a round of bullets [was fired],” an eyewitness told Ynet. “Everyone started running. This is not like a normal terror attack. The shots were fired for at least a minute. There was a large panic, and we were asked to go inside the building. They held and kept us (there), and then they came to check that we were okay. We have not seen such a thing in a long time.”Another eyewitness described how she narrowly escaped with her life. “I ran to Super-Pharm (pharmacy) and the terrorist began running in my direction,” she recalled. “They told us to hide and I tried to escape. I saw someone who had been shot in the chest lying on the ground and next to him was a woman screaming. I tried to calm her down and then the police and paramedics arrived.”
As news of the terror attack spread, Palestinian residents in Hebron and the Gaza Strip responded with joyous festivities, handing out baklava, cookies and other sweet treats in the streets and setting off fireworks to celebrate the death and destruction.
Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, took to Twitter last night to sing the praises of the two terrorists. “Glory and salutations to the Hebronites,” he tweeted from Gaza. In a second tweet, he labeled one of the shooters a “hero,” adding that he was praying for the injured terrorist’s soul.
Then, early this morning, Hamas issued a statement via its official Twitter account, claiming the Muhamra cousins as members of their organization. The terror organization called their operatives’ actions “heroic,” and warned that further attacks are imminent during the month-long Muslim holiday of Ramadan, which started on Monday. “These acts of bravery in Tel Aviv are the first signs of Ramadan, and the first surprise waiting in store for the Zionist enemy this Ramadan.”
Shortly after Hamas’s statement, the Shebab Agency, a media outlet associated with the terror group, issued a photo of a traditional Ramadan pastry being stuffed with a bullet. The picture is captioned simply, “The Tel Aviv Operation,” The Times of Israel reports.
Fatah, the Palestinian political party headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, also issued a statement via its official Twitter feed, claiming that Israel was “reaping the repercussions of choosing violence against the Palestinian people.”In sharp contrast to the Palestinian leaders’ incitement, the international community condemned the attack. United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, said there was no justification for terrorism, “nor for the glorification of those who commit such heinous acts.”
He added that he was “shocked that the leaders of Hamas have chosen to welcome this attack and some have chosen to celebrate it.”
For its part, the US State Department issued a statement condemning the attack, saying that the “cowardly” and “horrific” act of terror “against innocent civilians can never be justified.”
This morning, after meeting with the heads of Israel’s security forces in the army’s headquarters in Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the press.
“We’re in the middle of a complex period,” he explained, referring to Ramadan and the upcoming Jewish holiday of Shavuot [Feast of Weeks or Pentecost]. “We will act decisively and intelligently,” Netanyahu said, promising “determined action by the police, IDF and security agencies to locate all collaborators who took part in this murder, and to prevent future attacks.”
Mayor of Tel Aviv, Ron Huldai, also had a message for his fellow Tel Avivians. Although the city is a target for terrorists, he said, “we will continue to live in this city… terrorism will not defeat us.”
Mayor Huldai’s words resounded in the Tweets and Facebook messages of resilience pouring from those in Tel Aviv who refuse to cower to terror. “I’m in Tel Aviv now,” tweeted Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of United Nations Watch. “I have a lunch meeting tomorrow at Sarona Market, site of tonight’s terror attack, and I’m still going.”
“On my way to Sarona Market for breakfast this morning,” tweeted another. “This is how we survive terror.”
Perhaps the most moving message of all came from a young survivor of last night’s terror attack. “Call out terror for what it is,” Linda Dayan wrote on her Facebook page. “Call men shooting at screaming civilians who are running for their lives terrorism. Tell the people you know that it is never okay to target innocent men, women, and children, even if you do not like where they live.”
Posted on June 9, 2016
Source: (Bridges for Peace, 09 June 2016)
Photo Credit: Prime Ministers Office
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