The mother of a Palestinian terrorist who stabbed to death two Israeli men in Tel Aviv on Thursday said she was proud of his actions. “My son is a source of pride for Hebron and Palestine,” the woman told Hamas television.
Raid Halil bin Mahmoud, 36, a father of five from West Bank town of Dura near to Hebron, also moderately injured a third man. After his arrest, he said he was driven to carry out the attack by the pain he felt for the situation of the Palestinians, police said.
Just four days ago Mahmoud was 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.
He said he carried out the attack because he “felt pain” at the plight of the Palestinians, police said.
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 were named as Reuven Aviram, 51, from Ramle; and Rabbi Aharon Yesiab, 32, from Tel Aviv.
The third victim was evacuated to the hospital in moderate condition.
Later on Thursday security forces descended on Mahmoud’s home in Dura.
According to Channel 2, it was the first time in recent years that a Palestinian with a work permit to be in Israel has carried out a terror attack.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.