Or Asher, 32, was fighting for his life on Friday after undergoing surgery for a bullet wound to the neck sustained during a terror attack the previous night in Tel Aviv.
He was critically wounded when 23-year-old Palestinian Mutaz al-Khawaja, a Hamas member from the town of Ni’lin beyond the Green Line, opened fire outside a cafe on the corner of Dizengoff Street and Ben-Gurion Street in the heart of the coastal city.
The terrorist also shot Rotem Mansano, 34, who on Friday remained in serious condition following surgery. The third shooting victim, Michael Osdon, 36, suffered mild to moderate wounds and was receiving treatment along with the other two men at Ichilov Hospital.
The three Israeli friends were on their way to a wedding when they were attacked by Al-Khawaja, who initially fled the scene while firing at other people before being killed in a shootout with police officers.
An image of the shooter who fired on Israeli civilians near a cafe on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv on March 9, 2023. Source: Screenshot.
مصادر عبرية: حصيلة عملية “تل أبيب” 5 جرحى واستشهاد المنفذ وهو الشهيد معتز صلاح الخواجا.
مرفق صورة المنفذ pic.twitter.com/3QdtUrBpUO
— Newpress | نيو برس (@NewpressPs) March 9, 2023
Israel Defense Forces soldiers overnight on Thursday arrested two relatives of al-Khawaja during operations in Ni’lin. They also mapped al-Khawaja’s house for potential demolition, according to the military.
During the operation, Palestinians targeted the troops with explosives devices and Molotov cocktails. The soldiers responded with fire and identified one hit.
No Israelis were injured in the exchange.
On Friday, two Arab Israelis turned themselves in for driving al-Khawaja to perpetrate the attack.
לוחמי צה”ל, שב”כ ומג”ב מיפו הלילה את בית המחבל שביצע את פיגוע הירי בתל אביב.
הכוחות פעלו בכפר נעלין שבחטמ״ר אפרים למיפוי בית המחבל. המיפוי בוצע לבחינת האפשרות להריסת הבית, בהתאם להחלטות שיתקבלו. שני בני משפחה של המחבל נעצרו והועברו לחקירת שב”כ>> pic.twitter.com/8KkSyJ984J
— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) March 10, 2023
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said from Italy, where he was meeting with leaders on Thursday, that “there has been another terror attack in the heart of Tel Aviv. We send our hopes and our wishes for the speedy recovery of the wounded, and we strengthen the security forces who are fighting terrorists this night and every night.”
He added that “we will continue to build our nation and deepen our roots, and to build our common future as brothers and sisters.”
Last April, three Israelis were killed in a terror attack on Dizengoff Street, a popular thoroughfare full of shops, restaurants and bars.
The attack on March 9 is the latest in a wave of terrorism to strike Israel.
On Feb. 26, a Palestinian attacker gunned down brothers Hallel Menachem and Yagel Yaakov Yaniv while they were driving near the village of Huwara in Samaria.
The next day, Palestinian terrorists killed Israeli-American Elan Ganeles near the Beit Ha’arava Junction close to Jericho in the Jordan Valley.
Earlier in February, a terrorist attack in Jerusalem’s Ramot neighborhood claimed the lives of Yaakov Israel Paley, 6; his brother, Asher Menachem Paley, 8; and 20-year-old Alter Shlomo Lederman. Three days later, Israeli soldier Staff Sgt. Asil Sawaed, 22, died from wounds sustained in a terrorist attack at a checkpoint to Shuafat in Jerusalem.
On Jan. 27, seven people were killed and several others were wounded in a terrorist shooting rampage at a synagogue in Jerusalem’s Neve Yaakov neighborhood.