Left: One of the improvised weapons used by the Palestinian terrorists in the shooting attack in Tel Aviv (Facebook page of QudsN, June 9, 2016). Right: The scene of the shooting attack carried out by two Palestinian terrorists in Tel Aviv (Facebook page of the Israel Police Force, June 8, 2016).
1. On the evening of June 8, 2016, two Palestinian terrorists carried out a shooting attack in the Sarona Market in the center of Tel Aviv. They opened fire at people in a restaurant and at passersby. Four Israeli civilians were killed and seven wounded, three of them seriously. The two terrorists, who came to Israel illegally, were from the village of Yatta in the Hebron area. They were apprehended; one was wounded and hospitalized.
2. It was the second shooting attack carried out since the beginning of the Muslim religious month of Ramadan (which began on June 6), and the third terrorist attack in Tel Aviv during the past year. The attack came after a two-month decline in the current Palestinian terrorist campaign, which began in the middle of September 2015. In ITIC assessment, the shooting attack in the Sarona Market was inconsistent with the spontaneous attacks characterizing the campaign. It was more complex and necessitated advance planning and the collaboration of others (to drive the terrorists to Tel Aviv and arm them). The attack proves that in addition to spontaneous lone-wolf attacks in what the Palestinian Authority (PA) calls the "popular resistance," efforts are also made to carry out more complex, military-type attacks whose objective is to wound and kill as many Israelis as possible.
The Shooting Attack
3. At around 2100 hours on June 8, 2016, two Palestinian terrorists wearing suits and ties and carrying bags entered one of the restaurants in the Sarona Market in the center of Tel Aviv. They looked around, then went to sit at a table outside near the entrance and ordered beverages. A short time later they took improvised Carl Gustav rifles (nicknamed "Carlos" by the Palestinians) out of their bags and began shooting at people on the sidewalk, inside the restaurant and in a nearby restaurant.
4. Security guards at the scene returned fire. One of the terrorists was wounded in the leg and the other ran away. He was apprehended a short time later on a street nearby. Four people were killed and seven wounded, three of them seriously. The two terrorists were taken into custody. The terrorist who had been shot was hospitalized.
The scene of the shooting attack photographed by security cameras (June 8, 2016).
5. The two Palestinian terrorists who carried out the attack wereMuhammad Ahmed Musa Makhamra and Khaled Muhammad Musa Makhamra, both 21, cousins from the the village of Yatta near Hebron. Neither had a security record. They went to Tel Aviv without permits to enter Israeli territory. So far it is unknown how they entered Tel Aviv. Apparently they had at least one accomplice who drove them. According to the Palestinian security forces, they disappeared from their homes two days before the attack.
Left: Palestinian terrorist Khaled Makhamra on a visit to the Temple Mount (Facebook page of Shihab, June 9, 2016). Right: Palestinian terrorism Muhammad Makhamra (Facebook page of the Hamas movement in Yatta, June 9, 2016).
6. The Hamas movement in Yatta was quick to claim responsibility for the attack, noting that the two terrorists were Hamas operatives (Facebook page of Sawt al-Isra, June 8, 2016). However, it was not an official Hamas claim of responsibility. The Hamas-affiliated media praised the attack but also did not issue an official Hamas claim of responsibility. Taleb Makhamra, an uncle of Muhammad and Khaled, is serving four consecutive life terms in an Israeli jail. He was an operative in a Fatah Tanzim terrorist squad that carried out a shooting attack south of Kiryat Arba in 2002, killing four Israelis. Khaled Makhamra, another uncle, is a Hamas operative who has also been imprisoned in Israel but was released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal in 2011 and imprisoned again in 2012.
7. Khaled Makhamra studied electrical engineering at Mu'tah University in Kerak, Jordan. While in Jordan he became closely affiliated with the Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood (Facebook page of the Hamas movement in Yatta, June 9, 2016).
8. On the night of June 8, 2016, in response to the shooting attack, Israeli security forces operated in the village of Yatta. They searched the homes of the two terrorists, interrogated family members and detained a number of suspects. General Yoav Mordechai, the Israeli Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories, ordered the suspension of 204 entrance permits for Israel which had been granted to relatives of the terrorists. In addition, 83,000 entry permits for family visits, granted as a gesture for Ramadan, were also suspended, as were permits granted to Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to enter Israeli territory to pray on the Temple Mount.
Initial Palestinian Responses to the Shooting Attack
The Palestinian Authority
- 9. The office of the PA chairman (and not Mahmoud Abbas or his spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeina) issued an initial statement at 1400 hours on June 9, 2016, the day after the attack. The statement made no mention of those killed and wounded, but only stressed that the PA chairman "objected to all attacks on both sides where civilians were wounded, regardless of the circumstances." Achieving a "just peace and a positive atmosphere," according the statement, would help limit and put an end to the causes of regional tension and violence (Wafa, June 9, 2016).
- 10. Fatah's recruitment and organization office said in a statement that it was an individual, spontaneous attack carried out because of Israel's activities against the Palestinian people. Israel, said the statement, had to fully understand the implications of its actions (QudsN, June 9, 2016). The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah's military-terrorist wing, welcomed the attack, claiming it was the "natural response of the resistance" [i.e., terrorist organizations] to Israel's actions. According to the announcement, it was their "legal right" to respond, because Israel understood only the language of guns and force.
- 11. Residents in various locations in Judea and Samaria held celebrations in honor of the attack. Palestinians gathered at the Nablus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, the Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem, Tulkarm and other places. They distributed candy to passersby to express their joy (Facebook page of Paldf, June 8, 2016).
Left: Palestinians in the Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem hold a march to celebrate the terrorist attack in Tel Aviv (Facebook page of QudsN, June 9, 2016). Right: Palestinians distribute candy to drivers to express their joy (Facebook page of Paldf, June 8, 2016).
12. The Palestinian social networks posed a number of hashtags called "Ramadan_activity," "Carlo_salvo" and "Ramadan_jihad," with pictures and praise for the attack and the terrorists who carried it out.
Hamas and the Other Terrorist Organizations
13. Hamas spokesman Husam Badran called the attack "the first sign of Ramadan and the month's first surprise for Israel." He said the operatives who carried out the attack had successfully broken through Israel's security and attacked inside the country (Hamas website, June 8, 2016). The Hamas movement in the village of Yatta said in an announcement that it was proud of Muhammad and Khaled Makhamra and wished them a speedy recovery (Facebook page of the Hamas movement in Yatta, June 9, 2016).
Left: Hamas cartoon connecting kada'if, a traditional Ramadan dessert, and the shooting attack. The Arabic reads, "The attack in Tel Aviv – kada'if." Right: Picture posted by Hamas in support of the shooting attack in Tel Aviv. The Arabic reads, "Attack in Tel Aviv, attack for Ramadan, Carlo salvo," and "Four Israelis die in a shooting attack in Tel Aviv" (Facebook page of Paldf, June 9, 2016).
Hamas cartoon: The Arabic reads, "Ramadan attack. Allah will accept your obedience" (Twitter account of Palinfo, June 9, 2016).
14. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) issued an announcement welcoming the terrorist attack and praising the terrorists. According to the announcement, the attack represents "a change in the nature of the Al-Quds intifada" (Al-Hadaf, June 8, 2016).
The crescent moon that begins Ramadan supports two rifles aimed at Tel Aviv. The Arabic reads, "The attack in Tel Aviv caused the deaths of four Zionists and wounded eight others" (Facebook page of QudsN, June 9, 2016).
 On January 1, 2016, a shooting attack was carried out on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv, killing three Israelis and wounding eight. The shooter was Nasha't Milhem, an Israeli Arab from the village of Arara. On March 8, 2016, a stabbing attack was carried out on the seaside promenade in Jaffa, in which one man was killed and ten wounded.