Man accused of housing Sarona killers in makeshift storage unit
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Man accused of housing Sarona killers in makeshift storage unit

Abdelhadi Abu A’fash, of the Negev town of Segev Shalom, rented his warehouse to Palestinians who entered Israel illegally, not charged in terror plot

Israelis seen eating at Benedict's restaurant at the Sarona Market shopping center in central Tel Aviv, June 9, 2016, the morning after a deadly terror attack at the site. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Israelis seen eating at Benedict's restaurant at the Sarona Market shopping center in central Tel Aviv, June 9, 2016, the morning after a deadly terror attack at the site. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

A resident of the Bedouin town of Segev Shalom in the Negev was charged Thursday with allegedly unwittingly housing a pair of Palestinian terrorists, in Israel illegally, in a converted storage unit.

The unit was allegedly used by the two shooters who perpetrated the deadly June 8 terror rampage at the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv, in which four were killed and 41 wounded, as a base for preparing the attack, according to prosecutors.

In the indictment against Abdelhadi Abu A’fash, prosecutors charge that his warehouse served on a regular basis as sleeping quarters for Palestinians sneaking into Israel, mostly in order to work.

Abu A’fash, 49, the indictment reads, charged for his service anywhere from several hundred to many thousands of shekels each month.

The indictment does not claim that Abu A’fash, knew the intentions of cousins Muhammad and Khalid Muhamra. The charges are limited to housing and abetting infiltrators. He is not charged as an accessory to terror.

He is slated to face a remand hearing at the Beersheba Magistrate’s Court on Thursday afternoon. It wasn’t initially clear when he was arrested.

Khalid Muhamra, left, Younis Ayash Musa Zayn, center, and Muhammad Muhamra, right, sit behind a glass window during their indictment in a Tel Aviv District Court on July 4, 2016. The three Palestinian men have been charged with murder in connection with the June 8 terror attack at the Sarona Market in central Tel Aviv in which four Israelis were killed. (Flash90)
Khalid Muhamra, left, Younis Ayash Musa Zayn, center, and Muhammad Muhamra, right, sit behind a glass window during their indictment in a Tel Aviv District Court on July 4, 2016. The three Palestinian men have been charged with murder in connection with the June 8 terror attack at the Sarona Market in central Tel Aviv in which four Israelis were killed. (Flash90)

According to a joint investigation by the Shin Bet, IDF and Border Police, the Sarona shooters, from the West Bank town of Yatta, left their village just south of Hebron on June 8 and made their way to the Israeli town of Meitar through a wide gap in the security barrier. The two were already armed, having purchased their weapons — Carl Gustav automatic firearms — in their hometown through an intermediary.

Once in the Israeli town of Meitar, the cousins were assisted by a Palestinian man working illegally in Israel who drove them to Segev Shalom, southeast of Beersheba.

The driver, identified as Younis Ayash Musa Zayn, was arrested within hours of the Sarona shooting.

It was in Abu A’fash’s warehouse at Segev Shalom that the cousins donned suits to throw off suspicion on their way to the Tel Aviv attack.

Israeli security forces at the scene where two terrorists opened fire at the Sarona Market shopping center in Tel Aviv, on June 8, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Israeli security forces at the scene where two terrorists opened fire at the Sarona Market shopping center in Tel Aviv, on June 8, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

 

According to prosecutors, the shooters left Abu A’fash’s warehouse by 7 p.m. that evening carrying bags and their firearms.

Dressed and armed, they took a taxi from Segev Shalom to Beersheba, and another cab to Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market where, after entering and ordering dessert at the Max Brenner restaurant, they stood up and opened fire on the Israeli customers around them.

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