Haifa murder of schoolbus driver was a terror attack
Nearly a month after the murder of Guy Kafri in Haifa, an indictment was filed against Mohammad Yusef Shinawi, 21, according to which he was determined to kill Jews after a series of negative interactions and after being ridiculed by his girlfriend as a ‘Jew lover’ and a ‘Zionist lover’; Shinawi also wounded Yehiel Iluz and attempted to shoot another woman, in what is now being treated as a nationalistically-motivated terror attack.
A shooting attack that took place in Haifa at the beginning of the month in which 48-year-old Guy Kafri was murdered was nationalistically motivated, authorities have determined, and is now treated as a terror attack.
According to the indictment submitted against Mohammad Yusef Shinawi, 21, by the Prosecutor’s Office in Haifa to the city’s Magistates’ Court, who turned himself into police custody in Acre shortly after committing the attack, his murderous actions were motivated by anti-Semitism
The indictment concludes that the seeds of Shinawi’s hatred toward Jews were sown approximately 10 years ago, during the second Lebanon war.
"Over the years, the defendant's hatred toward Jews intensified due to intermittent incidents involving Jews experienced by himself and members of his family,” the indictment states.
“His belief that Jews are infidels also increased, and were thus valid targets for physical harm," it continued. "In the last few months prior to the events described below, his hatred intensified even further in light of additional events he experienced, and the desire for revenge became stronger."
During the interrogation, it was revealed that the impetus for carrying out the attack came when his girlfriend accused him of being a "Zionist Jew" and "Jew lover."
The indictment also describes how at the end of 2015, Shinawi purchased an improvised machine gun which he painted black and managed to conceal as he practiced shooting it in the area's woods.
On the night between January 2nd and 3rd, "he made up his mind, and the decision to kill Jews with his weapon had crystallized," the indictment deduced. He asked his younger brother, who is a minor, to bring him the weapon after which he loaded it and concealed it in his brother's presence.
Later, Shinawi told his brother that if anything were to happen, he should say that Shinawi had sent him for the weapon; according to the Prosecutor's office the brother was not aware of Shinawi's intention to execute a terror attack.
Shinawi concealed the weapon in a backpack and close to 9:30am, he arrived at Ha'atzmaut Street in Haifa in order to carry out the attack.
Shinawi fired several times at his first victim, Yehiel Iluz—a visibly religious Jewish man—from a short distance while the weapon was still concealed in his bag, causing Iluz to collapse on the ground before his attempted murderer fled the scene.
The indictment describes how the defendant then hailed a taxi and was dropped off in Chalisa neighborhood. During the interrogation, it was revealed that as he was fleeing the scene, Shinawi fired again in the direction of a Jewish woman in the area, but she was not harmed.
As it neared 10:00am, in Hagiborim Street, the shooter noticed Kafri walking by himself. "When he realized that the victim was Jewish, and in accordance with his initial decision to kill Jews, the defendant made up his mind to murder his victim. From a short distance, the defendant fired the weapon, with the intention of killing him. Three bullets hit the deceased in the left side of the chest and neck, causing his death."
Kafri, a 48-year-old from Nesher, worked as a schoolbus driver for disabled children, who he was driving to school on the morning of the murder.
"Guy was one of the loveliest, kindest people I know, who always liked to help others. No one had a bad word to say about him. He drove kids with disabilities and did it out of a sense of calling. He loved the kids—and they loved him," said his brother-in-law, Shachar Dror.
The escape route: reached Jerusalem and Tel Aviv
The indictment, signed by Advs. Shonit Kedem-Nimtzn and Shelley Zeevi-Barzilai, details Shinawi's escape route that lasted for two and half days. The first thing he did was discard the bag with the weapon in a mountainous area near his family's home in Chalisa neighborhood. He was assisted by his friends, Ihab Ayoob Yusef, 20, and Khaled Atef abu Klieb, 21—who were also charged in the indictment.
The two friends drove Shinawi to various hideouts, and Yusef even provided him with a knife to protect himself, after the former revealed his intentions to steal a motorcycle from a restaurant delivery boy.
The encounter between the defendant and the delivery boy is then described, where the former noticed the defendant's suspicious behavior and left the area.
Shinawi spent the night following the murder in a Chalisa neighborhood mosque. On the following morning, he drove to Jerusalem and prayed at a mosque near Damascus gate, then drove to Tel Aviv, finally to return to Haifa, where he wondered around Neve Sha'anan neighborhood.
On the following day, he continued to wonder around the city, then ended up driving to his uncle's house in Makr-Jadeidi, near Acre. Accompanied by his uncle, he then turned himself into the Acre police.
The charges in the indictment include premeditated murder as per the Terrorism Law, attempted murder, armed activity with terrorist purposes, as well as possession of a knife, grand theft auto, and attempted robbery.
His two friends are charged with providing the means to commit a terrorist act, providing the means to commit a crime, and, among other things, obstruction of justice.