Palestinians accused in Tel Aviv terror attack entered Israel through hole in security fence

Julie Wiener

The fence between Israel and Egypt, Jan. 2, 2012. (Moshe Milner/GPO/Flash90)

The fence between Israel and Egypt, Jan. 2, 2012. (Moshe Milner/GPO/Flash90)

(JTA) — The two alleged gunmen in Wednesday’s deadly terror attack in Tel Aviv entered Israel through a hole in the security fence, police said.

The two alleged terrorists, Palestinian cousins from a West Bank town near Hebron who had not been authorized to enter Israel, snuck in near Beersheva and then took a taxi from there to Tel Aviv, Israeli security authorities said Friday, according to The Times of Israel.

A joint investigation by the Shin Bet, the Israel Defense Forces and the Border Police found that Mohammed Ahmad and Khalid Mahamra entered a wide gap in the security fence leading to the Israeli settlement Meitar. They were armed.

Four Israelis were killed and six injured in the attack Wednesday night at Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market. Both alleged gunmen were arrested soon after.

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Once on the Israeli side of the fence, the two, according to security forces, were helped by a Palestinian man working illegally in Israel, who drove them to a Bedouin village near Beersheva and gave them the clothes they wore for the attack. The alleged accomplice was arrested, Israeli officials said Thursday.

In a statement issued Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the gaps in the security fence will be repaired later this month. In the meantime, additional security forces are guarding the fence.

Speaking to Haaretz, the fathers of the alleged shooters expressed surprise to learn of their involvement in the attack, but blamed the Israeli occupation.

“Yes, [Khalid Mahamra] would talk about the occupation. If the occupation ends, then there’d be no troubles, no attacks,” said Khalid’s  father.

The Mohammed Ahmad Mahamra’s father blamed the attack on “our conditions.”

An uncle of Khalid Mahamra condemned the attack, according to Haaretz, saying, “No one in the family is proud.”

Mohammed Ahmad Mahamra’s older brother Hussein Ahmad Mahamra, however, said he is “very proud” of him for carrying out the attack.

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