Four people were killed and three more seriously injured when two Palestinian terrorists opened fire at a popular Tel Aviv shopping centre.
The shooting occurred at the Sarona market, which is located next to the headquarters of Israel’s defense ministry. Two assailants, one of whom was reported shot, are in custody. Police confirmed that they are 21-year-old Palestinian cousins from Hebron in the West Bank.
The terror attack victims included a mother-of-four celebrating her 40th birthday, a young woman waiting for her fiancé, a university professor and a former elite Special Forces soldier and father-of-two.
One eyewitness told Ynet: “We were sitting outside and a round of bullets” were fired. “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 are waiting for them to open the roads so that we can leave. We have not seen such a thing in a long time.”
Ilana Nave’s 40th birthday cake was still sat on the table, said Member of the Knesset Amir Ohana, who was in the market when the attack took place on Wednesday evening. “I saw a birthday cake on one of the tables, and then you see the chairs upside down and glass shattered and blood all over,” he told CNN.
Alongside Tel Aviv resident Nave, the victims included another woman, Mila Mishayev, 32, believed to be from Ashkelon, who was waiting for her fiancé. She was due to be married shortly, but succumbed to significant lower body injuries, after being sprayed with bullets from automatic weapons.
Also killed was Ido Ben Aryeh, 42, who lived in Ramat Gan, east of Tel Aviv. A father of two, he served in the elite Sayeret Matkal unit before getting a senior job with Coca-Cola. His wife was one of 16 people injured in the shooting spree.
The fourth victim was father-of-three Michael Feige, 58, a professor of sociology and anthropology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in the south, who lived with his family in Midreshet Ben-Gurion.
He taught Israeli society to students, many of whom were foreign and new to the country, and had authored books on “fundamentalism in the West Bank”.
“He wasn’t one of those stuck-up academics, he was very approachable, very human and personable,” said Elisheva Goldberg, one of his graduates.
“He always asked people’s opinions, he was never rude, even when someone asked a stupid question, and he always made sure we understood what he was speaking about.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the attack “a savage crime, murder in the heart of Tel Aviv.”