Two Ukrainian nationals, an Arab Israeli police officer, and two fathers were identified as the five victims of a shooting attack by a Palestinian terrorist in a Tel Aviv suburb on Tuesday.
The terrorist, identified as Diaa Hamarsheh, 26, a Palestinian from near the West Bank city of Jenin, smuggled into Israel illegally and began a shooting spree with an M16 assault rifle in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak in central Israel.
Palestinians came out to celebrate outside Hamarsheh’s family home and in other Palestinian cities later that evening.
Palestinians handing out sweets to celebrate the murder of Israelis https://t.co/Zgl1oeEqzN
— Lahav Harkov (@LahavHarkov) March 29, 2022
One of the victims, Avishai Yehezkel, 29, was shielding his two-year-old son when the Palestinian terrorist sprayed bullets at him. His son remained in the street after his father was murdered. Apart from the toddler, Yehezkel was survived by his wife, who is eight months pregnant.
The Ukrainian Embassy in Israel issued a statement condemning the “heinous” attack and confirming that two unnamed Ukrainian nationals, aged 23 and 32, were among the dead.
The other two victims were Amir Khoury, 32, an Arab Christian police officer who was one of two officers who killed the terrorist, and Yaakov Shalom, 36, the son of a prominent rabbi who died last year from COVID.
Shalom was shot at point blank range from inside his car.
He was survived by his mother, wife and four children.
Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai expressed his condolences to Khoury’s father, Jarris.
“Alongside the tragedy, it is important for me to tell you that your son saved the lives of many civilians,” Shabtai said according to the Times of Israel. “His actions will become a legacy and memory of heroism for the whole country.”
Video from the scene of the attack. pic.twitter.com/PNGUdX3pfw
— Anna Ahronheim (@AAhronheim) March 29, 2022
The shooting was the third terror attack within a week, claiming the lives of 11 people.
“Israel is facing a wave of murderous Arab terrorism,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said late Tuesday. “The security forces are at work. We will fight terrorism with persistence, diligence and an iron fist.”
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said he personally welcomes the attack.
“We are proud of the Palestinian people and the free people of the nation in the face of the heroic attack that struck all of Israel,” he said, adding that the terrorists who carried out the recent attacks were “heroes.”
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