Dozens of diners in the restaurant, who never gave them a second glance, were shocked when the two terrorists suddenly got up from their tables and opened fire, shooting in all directions, claiming four lives and wounding 16.
“I was sitting in the restaurant and they were acting like regular customers,” recalled the Max Brenner branch manager. “They had bags and they ordered something to eat. Suddenly they pulled guns out and started firing. They didn’t shout anything. The two of them simply took the guns out and opened fire.”
Ido Ben-Ari, 42, from Ramat Gan; Ilana Nave, 39, from Tel Aviv; Dr. Michael Feige, 58 from Ramat Gan; and Mila Mishayev, 32, from Rishon Lezion.
Initial reports indicated that the two were dressed as ultra-Orthodox Jews. However, eye-witnesses said that the terrorists were dressed formally, wearing suits, ties, white shirts and black pants. “They didn’t look like ultra-Orthodox people, more like lawyers,” recalled Yosef Jibrin, who works as a barman in Max Brenner.
“When the shooting began people tried to flee into our kitchen. I also fled and then I returned to the restaurant to see if there were any more people. I saw wounded people on the floor and helped one of them until a paramedic arrived.”
Anna, who witnessed the attack also recounted the macabre turmoil: “They simply left the restaurant and started firing in all directions, inside the restaurant and outside.”
“There was blood on the floor. I saw wounded people and also the terrorist. I ran from the scene and hid. I found a shop and went into it. Everyone was on the floor.”
Josian Tobias Will, 66, was sitting with her friends at the Fushun coffee shop adjacent to the scene of the attack. “I saw through the window people running in panic,” she recalled. “I didn’t understand what happened and then I heard the shooting. We threw ourselves onto the floor in panic. After a few seconds someone said ‘come into the kitchen,’ so my friends and I went in. People started calling (their friends and family) like crazy and in panic. Ten minutes later the manager of the place took us out and said that they thought the terrorists were in the building. We went into the yard and waited another hour for the police. It was chaotic and there a lot of rumors.”
Another eyewitness nearby described the relentless shooting and how she narrowly escaped a deadly encounter. “I ran to Super-Pharm (pharmacy) and the terrorist began running in my direction,” she said. “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 who woman screaming. I tried to calm her down and then the police and paramedics arrived."
Meanwhile, Palestinians barely waited an hour to begin their celebrations of the terror attack on Sarona Market.
In the West Bank city of Tulkarem, Palestinians were handing out Baklava, cookies, and other sweets while in Hebron, Palestinian residents set off fireworks to celebrate the attack.
Hamas sent a message Wednesday night saying "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."
A high ranking Hamas official in Gaza, Mushir al-Masri, said that the attack was "a natural reaction to Israeli crimes."
A spokesperson for Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Daoud Shihab, said Wednesday night that "the attacks tonight revealed the fragility of Israeli security. These are natural reactions to the crimes of the occupation."