Gunman kills 2 in Israeli city of Tel Aviv
Israeli police said the shooter, a man from Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank, fired into the Ilka pub on Dizengoff Street, one of Tel Aviv’s busiest shopping and nightlife centers. Aviv, just before 9 p.m. Thursday, the start of the weekend. in Israel. He then fled.
Police ordered residents to enter, lock their doors and stay away from their windows as hundreds of officers swept through the city, searching yards and construction sites in pursuit of the attacker . Videos posted on social media showed rescue workers loading victims onto stretchers and scrambling to clear debris as helicopters shone a searchlight from above.
The gunman was found and killed in a shootout with Israeli police around 6 a.m. Friday morning near a mosque in central Jaffa, a mixed Jewish-Arab neighborhood south of Tel Aviv. He was identified as Raed Hazem, 29, and was staying in Israel without a permit from the Jenin refugee camp. The camp is a hotbed of political and militant activity in the northern West Bank.
The two Israelis killed by the gunman were men in their twenties, according to the Israeli emergency services. More than a dozen other people, also in their 20s and 30s, were shot in the chest and stomach, doctors said.
“It was a very difficult night. And everyone who helped [the terrorist] indirectly or directly will pay the price,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said.
Bennett, along with Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev, were monitoring the situation from military headquarters in Tel Aviv, several blocks from where the attack took place. is produced, their offices said.
US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides said in a tweet that he was “horrified to see another cowardly terrorist attack against innocent civilians, this time in Tel Aviv”.
“This must stop! ” he wrote.
Bennett announced late Thursday that his government would bolster security forces in Tel Aviv, in addition to the already increased number of forces recently deployed in Israel and the West Bank. Last week, Bennett called on licensed Israelis to bear arms after a Palestinian went on a shooting spree in suburban Tel Aviv, killing five people.
Israeli security forces were on high alert ahead of Friday, the first of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, ahead of possible clashes near Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem. Israeli and Palestinian authorities have warned of a sharp escalation in violence, particularly over the coming weeks, when in rare cases Ramadan will coincide with Passover and Easter.
In May, also during Ramadan, clashes between Palestinians and Israelis near Damascus Gate helped spark an 11-day war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza.
In a statement posted on its website Thursday, Hamas hailed the Tel Aviv attack, calling it a “heroic operation” that “led to the killing of a number of occupying soldiers and Zionist settlers.”
Steve Hendrix in Jerusalem and Hazem Balousha in Gaza City contributed to this report.