A Palestinian terrorist, who last month stabbed to death two Israelis and wounded a third outside a prayer room in Tel Aviv, expressed regret for his actions and shed a tear while reenacting the crime early Wednesday morning, police said.
Raed Khalil al-Mahmoud, 36, a father of five from the West Bank town of Dura near Hebron, had previously said he was driven to carry out the attack by the pain he felt for the situation of the Palestinians. And his mother had said she was proud of his actions. “My son is a source of pride for Hebron and Palestine,” the woman told Hamas television soon after the November 19 attack.
Mahmoud, 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 on Wednesday evening.
Mahmoud 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 shed a tear, the TV report said.
In footage from the reenactment screened by Channel 2, Mahmoud could be seen apparently wiping his eyes. “I’ve lost everything I had,” he also reportedly said.
Mahmoud’s father-in-law told Channel 2 he condemned Mahmoud’s actions.
Four days before he carried out the attack, Mahmoud had been issued a work permit enabling him to find employment 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.
He worked in a meat restaurant close to the Panorama office building in south Tel Aviv, where he carried out his attack.
After passersby overpowered him, Mahmoud 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.
Mahmoud began his bloody assault by heading toward a shop in the building that sells Jewish religious items and where some dozen men had gathered for Mincha, the Jewish afternoon prayer service.
He stabbed two men outside the room and one of his victims managed to stagger into the prayer service before he collapsed, covered in blood. The worshipers quickly closed the door and struggled with Mahmoud for a few minutes as he tried to force entry.
He eventually abandoned his efforts and left, stabbing a third victim he encountered outside before he was overpowered and detained by passersby who held him down until police arrived.
One of the victims was pronounced dead at the scene by MDA paramedics and another was evacuated to Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv, where he soon succumbed to his wounds.
The two fatalities were Reuven Aviram, 51, from Ramle; and Rabbi Aharon Yesiab, 32, from Tel Aviv.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.