Khaled al-Mahmara, one of the two Palestinian cousins who opened fire at the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv Wednesday night, killing four Israelis and injuring 17, was a member of a secret ISIS cell at al-Mutah University in al Karak, Jordan. He was in a mission to lead mass terror attacks in Israel, to be orchestrated from Jordan.
debkafile terrorism experts report that this university has become a hotbed of extremist Islamist terrorists with cells that are almost all linked operationally or ideologically to the Islamic State.
Muhammad Al-Dala'een, the son of a Jordanian Parliament member, who crossed the border from Jordan to Iraq and joined the terror organization, blew himself up 10 months ago in a suicide attack near Mosul. Al-Dala’een was a student at al-Mutah University.
Eight months ago, a Jordanian officer started shooting at a police training facility, murdering three foreign instructors – two Americans and a South-African. This officer, Captain Anwar Abu Zaid, was a graduate of al-Mutah University and proven by an investigation to be tied to clandestine ISIS terror cells operating there.
debkafile sources say that Jordanian General Intelligence has been co-opted to the Israeli investigation of the Tel Aviv outrage. Both agencies view the Sarona Market attack as a continuation of the wave of ISIS attacks that began on Monday at Jordanian Intelligence Headquarters in the Baqaa Palestinian camp near Amman, which left five intelligence officers dead.
DEBKAfile reported Wednesday:
Two terrorists, dressed in white button-down shirts, ties and black pants, both from Yatta village in southern Mount Hebron, entered a restaurant near the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv on Wednesday and ordered food, then took out Karl Gustav sub-machine guns and started shooting at people seated inside the restaurant.
As a result, in one of the most harrowing shooting attacks in the current wave of Palestinian terror, at least 3 Israelis were murdered and 4 fighting for their lives in the Ichilov Hospital operating rooms. Two more are slightly and moderately wounded.
One of the two terrorists was captured and the other wounded and transferred to a hospital.
Tel Aviv District Police chief Chico Edry said that there is currently no information regarding more terrorists, and called for the residents of Tel Aviv to return to normal. This call, other than the attempt to reassure, is of no great value, because just as Commander Edry had no prior information on the shooting attack, he has no information on what is going to happen in the next hours and days.
Commander Edry also exposes the fact that Israeli security forces did not detect the news running through the social networks since Wednesday morning, claiming that an armed terrorist squad has reached Tel Aviv with the intent to carry out a terror attack.
The fact is that these terrorist were declared missing by the PA a day ago. One would assume that the word of their disappearance did not reach the ears of the GSS and the Military Intelligence who are usually coordinated with their counterparts in Ramallah.
There is no doubt that this attack was well planned for a long time.
The terrorists were armed with two Karl Gustav sub-machine guns, cartridges and knives. It appears they had excellent preliminary intelligence: The Sarona Market has countless entrances and exits and in fact it is impossible to check those entering or leaving the compound.
The proximity to the Defense Ministry and to the IDF Headquarters, the two most secure Israeli facilities, located in the Kirya in Tel Aviv, makes the compound a target of terrorist attacks. With these attacks the Palestinians wish to demonstrate that they can reach these facilities and the surrounding area.
Undoubtedly, there was someone who armed the terrorists, instructed them how to load the weapons, manipulate jams and change cartridges, and how to choose the seating at the restaurant from which they observed the victims prior to the attack.
The fact that the terrorists split and then opened fire on two fronts slightly apart, indicates that someone trained them on a method that will produce the maximum number of Israeli casualties. Their intention was to escape after the attack in two different directions, while sowing panic among the general public in the area.