Sarah Vettori, a 54-year-old employee of the Alon factory, who was moderately wounded in the shooting attack that left two of her colleagues dead, said Monday that she was minutes away from death after being confronted by the killer and emphasized that her heart goes out to those murdered by the 23-year-old Palestinian.
The terrorist, Ashraf Na'alwa, arrived at the factory in the Barkan industrial area, where he worked as an electrician, shortly after 7:30am Sunday, equipped with an M-16 rifle and upon reaching the factory's offices, embarked on a shooting spree, killing Kim Levengrond Yehezkel and Ziv Hagbi in the process. The security footage showed the terrorist spent no more than 10 minutes inside the building.
Vettori ran into the perpetrator after hearing loud noises, which turned out to be the gunshots that killed the first two victims, from her office. She went into a corridor to see what was the source of the explosive sounds and was confronted by the terrorist who shot her. She managed to escape and hide under the table.
“I ran back to my office, got under the table, put my hand over the wound and saw that I was bleeding, and all I kept thinking was that I must breathe and it will be alright. Then I heard another four or five loud shots,” she recalled.
"I huddled under the table as he entered my office, I saw his legs, his jeans and sneakers. A few seconds later he disappeared and then everything went silent. Several minutes later a warehouse worker, Basel, came in and said that Kim and Ziv were no longer alive. He took care of me until the ambulance arrived,” Vettori described.
"Now I feel better, fortunately the bullet went right through me, no vital organs were damaged, and I am supposed to be released from the hospital today,” said the 54 year old, whose condition is now described as light.
“I am saddened for my friends. Kim, a young mother, who would come every morning to the factory with a smile, and she would show me pictures of her son … She was an amazing woman,” Vettori said referring to the 28-year-old victim.
“Ziv, father of three children whom I met when he brought them in to work during a summer vacation. He was a charming man … it hurts in an extraordinary way," she bemoaned, addressing the death of the factory’s accountant.
The 54 year old said she had never seen Na'alwa before, even though he was employed as the factory’s electrician for seven months.
Vettori said she never though such a thing could happen but admits that it most likely will not be the last incident of this nature.
"I’ve worked with Arabs for many years, and I'm not afraid. Unfortunately this is not the first and not the last time something like this happens. If he would have found me, I would not have been here. To my relief, he was in shock and did not even look under the table," she added.
Vettori made it clear she will go back to work as soon as she is able to.
"Obviously, I'll go back to work as usual, I do not think everyone is bad … it’s just the nature of the situation we have in our country. I don’t think it will shake the coexistence we have there …. We will all work together and everything will be fine … This is what I am hoping for,” she concluded.
The chase for the perpetrator is still ongoing.
The Border Police's counter terrorism special unit Yamam, the elite Duvdevan unit, the counterterrorism Lotar unit, and the IDF Oketz Unit, as well as Shin Bet forces and Central Command and West Bank Brigade soldiers, are taking part in the manhunt for the terrorist.