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After deadly stabbing, West Bank supermarket steps up security

At the request of police, all Rami Levy stores across Green Line to be equipped with cameras, metal detectors and more guards

Israeli soldiers outside Rami Levy supermarket  in the Etzion bloc in the West Bank, where a Palestinian attacker wounded an Israeli woman after stabbing her in the back on October 28, 2015. (Gershon Elinsonl/Flash90)
Israeli soldiers outside Rami Levy supermarket in the Etzion bloc in the West Bank, where a Palestinian attacker wounded an Israeli woman after stabbing her in the back on October 28, 2015. (Gershon Elinsonl/Flash90)

Days after an Israeli man was killed by Palestinian assailants at a Rami Levy grocery store in the Sha’ar Binyamin settlement, the discount supermarket chain on Monday announced that bolstered security measures would be implemented at all of their stores in the West Bank.

The announcement came after two senior Rami Levy executives attended a security hearing at the request of police who, after the attack, said the store’s lax security was partly to blame for the Thursday stabbing that killed 21-year-old off-duty soldier Tuvia Yanai Weissman.

Under the new security measures outlined by police, Rami Levy locations in the West Bank must be equipped with security cameras, metal detectors and an increased number of guards, Channel 2 reported.

Police noted the hearing was held in a “positive atmosphere” and said the Rami Levy representatives offered to extend the ramped up security measures to some of their Jerusalem locations.

The executives said a metal detector had already been erected at the store in Sha’ar Binyamin.

Tuvia Yanai Weissman with his wife Yael and four-month-old daughter. Weissman was stabbed to death by Palestinian terrorists at a West Bank supermarket on February 18, 2016. (Facebook)
Tuvia Yanai Weissman with his wife Yael and four-month-old daughter. Weissman was stabbed to death by Palestinian terrorists at a West Bank supermarket on February 18, 2016. (Facebook)

According to a report Monday in the Hebrew-language NRG news website, Israeli security forces have barred Palestinians under the age of 25 from entering Sha’ar Binyamin Industrial Zone until further notice.

Like dozens of other attacks in recent months, the fatal stabbing on Thursday was carried out by two Palestinian teens, Omar Rimawi and Ihad Sabah, both 14, from the nearby village of Beitunia outside Ramallah.

Investigators found that Rimawi and Sabah, who stabbed Weissman to death and seriously wounded another man, were able to bring knives into the store without being inspected by the security guard at the entrance.

Security footage from the attack showed that three Palestinians sought to enter the supermarket. A security guard turned one away, but allowed Rimawi and Sabah in without a physical check.

After the attack, officials ordered the store shuttered until serious security flaws were remedied. The Rami Levy chain also faced a forced closure of all four of its West Bank stores unless security was boosted across the board.

A senior police official told Channel 2 news Sunday the measures were intended mainly a deterrent to other businesses to increase their vigilance.

An Israel Police officer documents evidence at the scene of a stabbing attack at the Rami Levy supermarket in the Sha'ar Binyamin industrial park, north of Jerusalem, on February 18, 2016. (Israel Police)
An Israel Police officer documents evidence at the scene of a stabbing attack at the Rami Levy supermarket in the Sha’ar Binyamin industrial park, north of Jerusalem, on February 18, 2016. (Israel Police)

Rami Levy, the owner of the eponymous discount supermarkets, insisted Sunday that security arrangements at the site were adequate, and said it was only extreme bad luck that the terrorist attack had not been prevented.

Weissman, a dual Israeli-US citizen and resident of the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Mikhmas, was stabbed and critically injured while shopping with his wife, Yael, and 4-month-old daughter, Neta. He later died of his wounds in the hospital.

Sabah and Rimawi were shot by an armed civilian who rushed to the scene after hearing screaming. Sabah died of his wounds, while Rimawi remains hospitalized.

Police later released photographs from the supermarket showing blood splattered on the floor of an aisle stocked with laundry detergent on display near a shopping cart.

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