Four people were killed and at least eight others were wounded in a shooting attack in Tel Aviv at around 9:30 pm Wednesday night. Three victims were pronounced dead at the scene and a fourth succumbed to her wounds at around midnight. One victim is listed in critical condition and four others are listed in serious condition.
Two gunmen opened fire in Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market. The market is a popular shopping and commercial area. Police confirmed that two terrorists were arrested. One terrorist surrendered to police and the other terrorist was shot by a security guard and is in being treated in Ichilov Hospital. Videos show an armed civilian returning fire at a terrorist. Police initially believed there to be a third assailant but after a 45 minute manhunt, determined that was not the case.
According to unconfirmed police sources, two of the assailants were nicely dressed, wearing black suits and white shirts. They sat down to eat at a Max Brenner’s restaurant, ordering fudge brownies, but left their food untouched as they began the attack 15 minutes after entering the crowded restaurant.
The police are considering this a nationalist motivated terror attack. The two Arab terrorists, Muhammad and Khalid Muhamra, are 21-year-old cousins from the village of Yatta near Hebron. At least one of the terrorists used an improvised weapon. They did not have permits to leave Judea and it is still unclear how they passed through security checks to arrive in Tel Aviv.
Hamas claimed the two as members, calling the attack “heroic”, while promising more attacks.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu landed in Israel shortly after the attack, returning from a two-day trip to Russia. The Prime Minister immediately went to the army facility adjacent to the scene of the shooting to meet with security officials.
Netanyahu addressed reporters early Thursday morning, calling this a “complex period”.
“We will act decisively and intelligently,” Netanyahu said, vowing “determined action by the police, IDF and security agencies to locate all collaborators who took part in this murder, and to prevent future attacks.”
The Muslim month of Ramadan fasting began on Monday and the religious fervor of this period has led to increased violence in past years. A long period of violence of almost daily stabbing attempts and capped by a bus bombing seemed to have ended when this deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv, the second in six months and three months after a stabbing spree killed American Taylor Force, shattered these hopes.
Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Danny Danon called on the secretary general and the security council to “Definitively condemn murderous Palestinian terrorism.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon replied by saying in a statement that he was “shocked that the leaders of Hamas have chosen to welcome this attack and some have chosen to celebrate it.”
אירוע בטחוני עכשיו. מולי pic.twitter.com/0Vnvi95Ppg
— haim etgar (@haimetgarr) June 8, 2016
— Lior Weintraub (@LiorWeintraub) June 8, 2016