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New video shows off-duty soldier’s fatal fight with Palestinian terrorists

Security camera footage documents last week’s attack at West Bank supermarket in which unarmed Tuvia Yanai Weissman was killed

Raoul Wootliff is the The Times of Israel's political correspondent.

Security camera footage from a deadly stabbing at a West Bank Rami Levy supermarket on February 18, 2016. (screen capture: Channel 2)
Security camera footage from a deadly stabbing at a West Bank Rami Levy supermarket on February 18, 2016. (screen capture: Channel 2)

A video released Wednesday evening documents the moments in which an Israeli off-duty soldier was stabbed to death last week while shopping in a supermarket near his West Bank home.

Security camera footage broadcast by Channel 2 News shows the attack in which 21-year-old Tuvia Yanai Weissman was fatally injured last Thursday in the Sha’ar Binyamin Industrial Zone, southeast of Ramallah.

In the video, Weissman can be seen running toward two Palestinian attackers who were stabbing another victim. As he sprints out of a shopping aisle, one of the terrorists surprises him from the side and stabs him in the neck.

The two wrestle for a few moments before Weissman falls behind a shopping trolley. An armed shopper then shoots the attacker, who also falls to the floor.

Weissman was unarmed. On a week’s leave from the IDF, he had asked to take his gun home with him, but was refused. Since his killing, the IDF has reversed that regulation, and ordered soldiers to take their guns with them when they head home from their bases for leave.

Weissman, a dual Israeli-US citizen and resident of the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Mikhmas, was shopping with his wife, Yael, and 4-month-old daughter, Neta. He was hospitalized in Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center in critical condition, where doctors pronounced him dead after fighting to save his life.

The second victim was hospitalized at the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus neighborhood in serious condition. He has since been released from hospital.

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)

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

Speaking at his funeral on Friday, Weissman’s wife Yael called him “a true hero of Israel,” saying that even though he was unarmed, he ran towards the attacker in an effort to stop him.

“You were endlessly giving to others. If you didn’t run there [towards the attack] you wouldn’t have been the Yanai that I know and fell in love with,” she told the hundreds of mourners attending the funeral.

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)

Police said after the attack that lax security was partly to blame for the incident. Security footage released a day after the attack showed three Palestinians entering the supermarket. A security guard turned one away, but allowed the other two in without a physical check.

The two were named as Omar Rimawi and Ihad Sabah, both 14, from the nearby village of Beitunia outside Ramallah. Sabah died of his wounds, while Rimawi was hospitalized with serious injuries. The third suspect, turned away by the security guard, was arrested Sunday.

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.

Thursday’s attack was the second to occur in a Rami Levy supermarket in recent years. In 2014, two Israelis were moderately injured in an attack at a branch of the discount chain in Mishor Adumim, an industrial zone east of Jerusalem.

Twenty-nine Israelis and three non-Israelis have been killed in a wave of Palestinian terrorism and violence since October, during which nearly 170 Palestinians have also been killed, some two-thirds of them while attacking Israelis, and the rest during clashes with troops, according to the Israeli army.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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