Four Israelis were killed yesterday evening and 17 injured as two Palestinians opened fire in a popular entertainment district in Tel Aviv.
The attack took place at around 9.30pm in the Sarona complex, which is filled with cafes and restaurants and is situated near the defence headquarters and government offices. Two people posing as customers in a restaurant stood up and opened fire indiscriminately, using makeshift firearms. One attacker was shot and injured and both were apprehended. One of the attackers is thought to have run to nearby Ha’arbaa Street, where he opened fire before being caught. The two assailants are said to be Palestinian men in their twenties, both from the same family near Hebron in the West Bank.
Zionist Union MK Itzik Shmuly who was nearby when the attack occurred, said: “People started running hysterically in all directions, and I saw what looked like a chase after the attacker, but I didn’t see him… Then they took a lot of people to the parking lot to be treated for shock.”
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai commented that “Tel Aviv-Jaffa has been for years a target for terrorism, trying to disrupt our lives.” He added: “Terrorism will not overpower us and I suggest to all of us to strive for peace… I ask everyone… tomorrow to return to life as usual.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu landed back in Israel soon after the attack, returning from a two-day visit to Moscow. He headed straight for the defence headquarters in Tel Aviv, where he consulted with Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Police chief Roni Alsheich, Shin Bet security agency head Nadav Argaman and other officials.
A wave of near-daily Palestinian terror attacks, which began in October killing at least 31 people before last night, had appeared to slow in recent weeks. However, a soldier was stabbed and wounded in Tel Aviv last week. In January, two Israelis were shot dead in a bar in central Tel Aviv while an American tourist was killed in Jaffa during a terrorist attack in March.