Days after its patrons were caught up in the deadly rampage of a machete-wielding attacker, Nazareth Restaurant and Deli in Columbus, Ohio, has reopened for business with a limited menu.
The attack, executed on February 11 by a known supporter of radical Islam named Mohamed Barry, has been called an act of terrorism by authorities as well as the restaurant’s owner, Arab-Israeli native Hany Baransi.
Nazareth, which Baransi opened 27 years ago after emigrating from Haifa, is known locally for its acceptance of Israeli, Muslim, and Jewish cultures. Police are now investigating whether the suspect mistakenly believed that Baransi, a Christian, was Jewish.
Baransi told police that he believed the attack was premeditated and that, “30 minutes before he came and did the attack, he came in looked around, asked where I was from. Asked about our food, and where was I,” the owner told WBNS-TV. Baransi was not there, as he had gone home earlier in the day.
When Mohamed Barry returned, he “immediately began swinging a machete at customers and employees,” according to Columbus police sergeant Rich Weiner. Four people were injured during the attack, though all are expected to recover. A number of patrons were noted as fighting back against the attack, throwing chairs at the suspect.
Barry, who subsequently fled the restaurant, was shot dead by police after attempting to escape arrest with a machete and knife.