The terrorist at the Barkan Industrial Park forced a Palestinian janitor to tie the hands of Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, before fatally shooting her, The Times of Israel confirmed Tuesday.
Twenty-three-year-old Ashraf Na’alowa threatened the fellow Palestinian that if he did not cuff Yehezkel he would shoot him as well, a defense official said, confirming a Kan public broadcaster report.
Initial reports on the Sunday attack said that before shooting the 28-year-old Israeli mother-of-one at point-blank range, Na’alowa had bound her hands using cable ties he had taken from a storage closet.
But the Shin Bet security service has learned that Na’alowa had given the orders to a janitor who happened to have been cleaning the Alon Group factory’s offices at the time. Fearing for his life, the 20-year-old resident of Nablus complied.
He was then given several seconds to flee the scene before Na’alowa went on to shoot Yehezkel, 35-year-old Ziv Hajbi, and 54-year-old Sara Vaturi — the former two succumbed to their wounds at the scene, while Vaturi survived and was released from the hospital on Monday.
The young custodian was questioned by the Shin Bet security service following the attack, but was released after agents concluded that he was not involved in planning the shooting.
The defense official acknowledged that it remained unclear why the terrorist wanted to cuff Yehezkel as he did not do the same for the second victim, Hajbi.
Na’alowa managed to escape the scene and remained at large Tuesday morning as Israeli security forces continued operations in his village of Shuweika, near Tulkarem.
The army has deployed additional troops to the West Bank to prevent copycat attacks, and security forces detained Na’alowa’s brother and sister on Monday morning.
Levengrond Yehezkel was buried in her hometown of Rosh Ha’ayin in central Israel on Sunday night. She is survived by her husband and a 15-month-old son.
The funeral for Hajbi took place on Monday afternoon in the southern community of Nir Yisrael.
On Monday night, the shooter’s relatives publicly appealed to Na’alowa on Israel Radio to turn himself in to the Israeli authorities.
The army also said Na’alowa had no history of terrorist activities and was not tied to any terror groups, though several of them applauded his actions.
The businesses in the Barkan Industrial Park, located near Ariel, employ some 8,000 people, approximately half of them Israelis and the other half Palestinians. Yehezkel was secretary to the CEO at Alon Group, while Hajbi worked in accounting. Na’alowa was employed by the company as an electrician.
‘One killed and another saved my life’
Vaturi told the Ynet news site Tuesday that while one of her Palestinian coworkers took lives, another was responsible for saving her own.
“Basel, our warehouse worker, did a heroic deed and saved my life. I was drifting out of consciousness (after being shot) and Basel — who as soon as he heard the shots came running to our offices — pulled me under the desk and calmed me down, saying ‘my darling, my darling,'” Vaturi recalled.
She said Basel had pressed on her gunshot wound with a roll of toilet paper to prevent further bleeding.
“When I asked him for some water because I felt dry, he told me that it was not allowed,” Vaturi said.
“Later at the hospital, I asked for some water and the doctors said the same thing. It turns out that Basel was right.”
The young Palestinian later called the Israeli woman while she was in the hospital to check on her well-being. Basel himself was taken to a Palestinian hospital in the West Bank for treatment of post-trauma anxiety.
Reflecting on the shooting, Vaturi concluded, “we must not generalize all Arabs.”
“A lot of them called me after the attack, asked for forgiveness and were ashamed of what happened. We do not judge them because of the actions of a criminal terrorist. One murdered, but another saved my life.”
She recalled the attack in dramatic detail to reporters on Monday.