חנות הפרחים של המחבל מחיפה
Police outside the Haifa flower shop where Shadi Bana worked at
Photo: Lior El-Hai
Police outside the Haifa flower shop where Shadi Bana worked at

Fed stray cats and never talked politics: Flower salesman turned terrorist

Friends and relatives of Shabi Bana, who on Thursday opened fire at Border Police in Jerusalem's Old City and was subsequently shot dead, tell the 44-year-old was a gentle person; it's believed the Arab-Israeli converted to Islam prior to attack

Lior El-Hai |
Published: 02.06.20 , 20:54
Hours after the shooting attack at the entrance to Jerusalem's Old City on Thursday afternoon, the police were already conducting a raid at the family home of the 44-year-old perpetrator in the northern city of Haifa. The law enforcement officials also raided the flower shop where Shadi Bana worked at, ceasing computers and personal belongings in an attempt to understand what made a regular salesman turn to violence.
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  • Shimon Sabag, Bana's neighbor, said he used to meet with him every morning. "He was a quiet type," Sabag said. "I know he converted lately to Islam, but he didn't talk much, he was very mannered."
    חנות הפרחים של המחבל מחיפהחנות הפרחים של המחבל מחיפה
    Police outside the Haifa flower shop where Shadi Bana worked at
    (Photo: Lior El-Hai)
    Shimon Sabag, Banna's neighbor, said he used to meet with him every morning. "He was a quiet type," Sabag said. "I know he converted lately to Islam, but he didn't talk much, he was well mannered."
    Video: Israel Police
    According to him, Bana showed no signs he was planning such a horrific attack. "To realize that a terrorist was amongst us, a man I used to see every day, leaves me speechless."
    Sabag also said Bana never was one to participate in political discussions. "He always stayed out of the picture," he said.
    Shadi Ibrahim, a council member for the Arab village of Daburiyya, who knew Bana, also said he was "a quiet, normal person."
    "Until last night, everything was alright ... we couldn't have known how terrible he really was."
    מחוץ לביתו של המחבל, שאדי בנא מחוץ לביתו של המחבל, שאדי בנא
    Police raiding Banna's house in Haifa
    (Photo: Lior El-Hai)
    Ibrahim said although he was aware of Bana's recent conversion to Islam, he saw no signs of extremist leanings. "He never fought with anyone, always was nice and gentle, I still can't believe he turned out to be a terrorist."
    Shimrit, a regular at the flower shop Bana worked at, said he was a lovely and polite person. "He used to feed the neighborhood's stray cats," she said. "Turns out he had two identities. I'm just shocked, I can't believe a person would do such a horrible thing."
    Yosef Abu Aziza, the owner of a vegetable store near the flower shop said that he met Bana in on the morning of the shooting, where he told him he was going to visit his sister in the hospital and come back.
    חנות הפרחים של המחבל מחיפהחנות הפרחים של המחבל מחיפה
    Inside the flowershop where Bana worked
    (Photo: Lior El-Ahay)
    A short time later, he heard about the attack in Jerusalem. "I still can't believe it, he was a good man," Abu Aziza said.
    The shooting occurred around noon when Bana arrived at a Border Police outpost in Jerusalem's Old City and opened fire on the officers stationed there.
    One officer was hurt lightly, while the 44-year-old was shot dead after a short manhunt.

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