ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 145

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Three victims in Tel Aviv terror shooting were en route to friend’s wedding

Seriously injured man’s girlfriend asks Israelis to pray for his recovery; hundreds show up for vigil at attack site; hospital notes small improvement in their conditions

Composite photo showing (from left), Rotem Mansano, 34, Or Eshkar, 32, and Michael Osdon, 36, who were wounded in a terror shooting in Tel Aviv on March 9, 2023. (Courtesy)
Composite photo showing (from left), Rotem Mansano, 34, Or Eshkar, 32, and Michael Osdon, 36, who were wounded in a terror shooting in Tel Aviv on March 9, 2023. (Courtesy)

The three Israelis shot in a Palestinian terror attack in Tel Aviv were on their way to a friend’s wedding, one of the victims revealed Friday.

Or Eshkar, 32, and Rotem Mansano, 34, were critically and seriously injured respectively, and Michael Osdon, 36, suffered moderate wounds when a 23-year-old Palestinian terrorist opened fire on them on Thursday night as they were walking outside a cafe on the corner of Dizengoff Street and Ben Gurion Street in the center of the city. The attacker, Mutaz Salah al-Khawaja, fled the scene before being gunned down in a shootout with police officers.

While Eshkar and Mansano remained connected to ventilators on Friday evening, Osdon was able to talk to the media, detailing the moments of the attack in an interview with Channel 13.

“The terrorist fired, and I managed to move my head so the bullet only hit my cheek,” he said. “He shot one of my friends and then the other. He then tried to shoot me again, but I ran away to a nearby ice cream parlor to call the police.”

Osdon said he was lightly injured compared to his two other good friends and would only need cosmetic surgery. “Please pray for my friends,” he asked.

Eshkar’s girlfriend who posted on her Instagram story also asked for the public to pray for the victims’ recovery. “I have never begged as much as I am begging now. Please pray for the love of my life. Pray when you light the [Sabbath] candles on Friday. the prayer of the whole country will save him. I believe this with all of my heart.”

Hundreds gather for a vigil at the site of a terror shooting in Tel Aviv on March 10, 2023. (Yaakov Schwartz/Times of Israel)

Hours later, hundreds of Israelis gathered at the site of the shooting to hold a vigil. Some participated in a religious prayer quorum and everyone there subsequently joined in songs about Jewish resilience.

Neta Sara, who lives in an apartment right above where the attack took place told the Ynet news site that she saw the gathering on Friday evening and was moved by the amount of Israelis who had come to show their support for the victims.

“It’s moving to see our people come together like this,” she said.

Meanwhile, on Friday, friends of the seriously injured Mansano, a wedding DJ, began efforts to reach out to the couples at whose weddings he was supposed to perform.

Mansano’s friends also recruited 70 DJs from across the country who agreed to perform in place of the victim. The money earned would go toward Mansano’s recovery, Channel 12 reported, saying that nearly 50 weddings have since been accounted for.

“He is a man with a heart of gold beyond belief. Everyone loves him,” Mansano’s friend Dor Avidan told Channel 12. “He’s a DJ of the highest caliber there is. We hope he’ll be back performing in the summer.”

The scene of a terror attack on Dizengoff street, in central Tel Aviv, March 9, 2023. (Erik Marmor/Flash90)

The three victims were being treated at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital where its director Ronni Gamzu said Friday evening that their conditions saw slight improvements.

Gamzu said Eshkar remained in critical condition though, and that his injuries continued to be life-threatening. “I want to be optimistic but the road to recovery will be very long,” he said, noting that the bullet had struck his neck.

Mansano’s injuries were similarly complex and he remained in the ICU. The bullet hit his spine very close to his central nervous system. Doctors eased him off of anesthesia and he began communicating again, Gamzu said. “We hope that we can improve his condition further and get him off of the ventilator.”

Two Arab Israelis, residents of Ramle and Kuseife, turned themselves in to police on Friday for driving the attacker to the scene. Their arrests were extended later in the day, police said.

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