A Palestinian man who allegedly stabbed two Israelis to death and wounded a third in a Tel Aviv attack on November 19 was indicted for murder Sunday at the Tel Aviv District Court.
Raed Masalmeh, 36, was accused of taking a nine-inch knife from a grill restaurant where he worked in Tel Aviv and fatally stabbing Reuven Aviram, 51, from Ramle, and Aharon Yesiav, 32, from Tel Aviv.
Masalmeh expressed regret for his actions and shed a tear while reenacting the crime earlier this month, police said. He said he was driven to carry out the attack by the pain he felt for the situation of the Palestinians.
After taking the knife, the charge sheet said, Masalmeh went to the second floor of the Panorama building and, seeing Aviram and another dozen men who’d gathered for the Jewish afternoon prayer, assailed him and stabbed him multiple times.
Aviram managed to flee and shout “terrorist” before collapsing. Masalmeh then stabbed Yesiav nine times in the torso.
The worshipers quickly closed the door and struggled with Masalmeh for a few minutes as he tried to force entry.
Masalmeh, who is older than many of the Palestinian terrorists involved in the surge of attacks in recent weeks, is also unusual in that he had a work permit allowing him to be in Israel. His wife had also recently given birth to their twin fourth and fifth children. “We have no definitive explanation” for why he carried out the attack, Assaf Baranes, a police officer involved in the case, told Channel 2 news earlier this month.
Masalmeh had previously said he wanted to die as a martyr, but toward the end of the reenactment, in the early hours of Wednesday morning, he suddenly expressed regret and cried, the TV report said.
In footage from the reenactment screened by Channel 2, Masalmeh could be seen apparently wiping his eyes. “I’ve lost everything I had,” he also reportedly said.
Masalmeh’s father-in-law told Channel 2 he condemned Masalmeh’s actions.
Four days before he carried out the attack, Masalmeh had been issued the permit to work in Israel. The permit was issued after a background check by security services found that he had no record of previous activity constituting a security concern.
After passersby overpowered him, Masalmeh was questioned at the scene of the attack by the Shin Bet security services. He was then arrested and interrogated by Tel Aviv District Police.