An indictment was issued on Monday against Mohammad Mahmara and Khaled Mahmara, the terrorists who killed four people in Tel Aviv’s Sarona market last month.
According to the indictment, a third terrorist was supposed to participate in the attack which originally consisted of an elaborate scheme according to which the three planned to open fire inside a train and cause mass murder. The three stand accused of murder and other crimes.
The investigation by the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) revealed that the 21-year-old terrorists from the town of Yatta, located south of Hebron, were inspired by Islamic State to commit the attack which killed Ido Ben-Ari, 42, from Ramat Gan; Ilana Nave, 39, from Tel Aviv; Dr. Michael Feige, 58 from Midreshet Ben-Gurion; and Mila Mishayev, 32, from Rishon LeZion.
In the indictment handed down, it was written that the two turned to their friend, Ayash Musa Zayn, also a resident of Yatta, with the intent of carrying out the attack. They planned to carry it out on a train and therefore went about gathering information about timetables, journey routes, entrances and exits, gateways and numbers of passengers passing through different stations. They came to the decision to carry out the attack against passengers travelling from Tel Aviv to Haifa.
As part of the attack, the two purchased 30cm knives. They also purchased suits, watches, leather bags, shoes and glasses at the cost of 2,600 shekels. Additionally, they bought rat poison to spread on the knives which would then be used to stab Israelis and maximize the damage caused. In total, the two spent 4,000 shekels on their grizzly plan. However, for the two prevented Zayn from participating in the attack as he had financial debt, a fact which according to Islamic doctrine precludes the possibility of an individual becoming a Sahid. (martyr)
They went to shooting practice to make sure that their weapons worked and hid them with Zayn along with the ammunition, the knives the poison and the other materials purchased for the attack. The decision to attack Sarona was unplanned and taken the same day as the attack.
The day of the attack, the two terrorists entered Israel through a break in the seam line used to smuggle illegals, in the Metzadot Yehudah area in the southern Hebron Hills. They were assisted by Salim Mognam, 23, also a resident of Yatta, who has also been arrested as an accomplice. After infiltrating into Israel, they stayed in an apartment in Segev Shalom that is used by illegals ad prepared to set out for Tel Aviv. From there, the two travelled to Be’er Sheva on bus line 53.
After a few hours of making the final preparations for the attack, the two made their way to the train station but decided to abort the plan due to the meticulous security checks being conducted at the entrance. At this point, the two flagged down a cab and resolved to carry out the attack at a different location, albeit it no less crowded. During the investigation, they confessed that they dressed in suits in order to pass for businessmen or lawyers.
Alighting the cab at HaShalom train station in Tel Aviv, the two made inquiries as to the whereabouts of popular restaurants or coffee shops before making their way to Max Brenner dessert restaurant. Shortly after 9:00pm, they began firing the first shots of their infamous assault. One was eventually shot by security forces and moderately injured while the other posed as a civilian and took refuge in a family home before being discovered by a policeman, his wife narrowly escaping being murdered herself.
Last year, Mohammad spent a significant period of time studying in Jordan where he was influenced by inciting content by ISIS. The decision to carry out the attack was taken after his return to south Hebron in January 2016. However, there was no evidence that either terrorist was sent by ISIS but rather carried out an independent attack.
Ten residents of Yatta were also detained on suspicion of involvement in manufacturing and trafficking in weapons and in transporting the terrorists into Israel.
Itay Blumenthal, Yoav Zitun, Elior Levy and Gilad Morag contributed to this story.