Terrorists indicted, Elad mayor demands death penalty

In the courtroom, Elad Mayor Yisrael Porush yelled at the terrorists, “Dogs, rags, you deserve the death penalty!”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Two Palestinian terrorists who carried out a deadly attack in Elad last month were indicted Thursday, and the town’s mayor called for them to be given the death penalty.

The prosecution in Tel Aviv’s District Court listed three counts of murder under aggravated circumstances in an act of terror, and five counts of attempted murder against As’ad al-Rifa’i (19) and Sabhi Abu Shakir (20). Other charges, including entering Israel illegally, were also enumerated.

The indictment described in detail how and why the two carried out their plans. Abu Shakir had wanted to die as a “martyr” in a terror attack for a year, following a friend’s death in a clash with Israeli soldiers. Al-Rifa’i, who had first refused to join him, changed his mind after becoming more religious and being angered by reports that Israel was harming Muslim worshipers on the Temple Mount.

The pair tried to obtain guns but were unsuccessful. Instead, they armed themselves with axes and knives. Elad was their target because they knew the town after working there illegally for the previous six months.

The night before the attack, which they decided should take place on Israeli Independence Day, they went to a hotel in Ramallah where they wrote their wills. They also underwent a purification rite that was a religious prerequisite to dying as martyrs.

Read  Jew drives through burning tires to escape terrorists in Samaria

With a friend’s help they then cut a hole in the security fence and called a taxi service. The unsuspecting driver, Oren Ben Yiftach, took them to their destination. When they arrived, the terrorists stabbed and hacked him 21 times, killing him immediately.

They then ran toward a park full of revelers, swinging their weapons at anyone within reach. Two local residents, Yonatan Habakuk and Boaz Gol, were killed, with Habakuk’s six-year-old son an eyewitness to his father’s death. They hit an elderly man on the street and a father who was sitting on a park bench with his four children, injuring him severely in the head but not fatally, thanks to medical intervention.

A civilian who was guarding the celebrations at a park saw children running towards him in a panic and went to confront the terrorists. They hacked him several times, seriously injuring him as well, but he, too, survived.

As their last act, the pair shattered the car windows where two Jews were eating, in an effort to reach them. One victim threw his plate of hot food at one terrorist, while his friend managed to fend off the terrorist on his side of the car.

Al-Rifai and Abu Shakir then fled, hiding for 62 hours in the brushland outside Elad until security forces found them. They gave themselves up without a fight and eventually reenacted their murderous spree for the police.

Read  WATCH: What did this Palestinian terrorist say after 20 years in prison?

In the courtroom, Elad Mayor Yisrael Porush yelled at the terrorists, “Dogs, rags, you deserve the death penalty!”

Speaking to reporters outside, Porush said, “I don’t know why they’re even alive [now], people who destroyed families… who harmed hundreds of children psychologically from the sights they saw.”

“I came to look them in the eyes and the State of Israel in the eye, to understand how these people can even smile and talk, how they can even be put on trial,” he added. “They should have already been gone from this world.”

While the prosecution asked that the terrorists be remanded until the end of the trial, the court extended their detention at this point only until the next hearing, on July 4.