Gunman in Tel Aviv bar attack is shot and killed

JERUSALEM — Israeli security forces on Friday morning shot and killed a Palestinian gunman who had fled the previous night after killing...

JERUSALEM — Israeli security forces on Friday morning shot and killed a Palestinian gunman who had fled the previous night after killing two people and wounding 13 others outside a busy bar in central Tel Aviv. The shooter’s attack was the latest in the deadliest wave of terrorism in Israel since 2016.

Police said the shooting in Tel Aviv happened just after 9 a.m. on the last evening of the Israeli work week, in front of a bar full of people enjoying the start of the weekend. The shooter initially escaped, prompting security forces to embark on a nine-hour manhunt. They ordered residents to stay at home as they scoured the city for the shooter, bringing central Tel Aviv under control.

At 6 a.m. on Friday, Israel’s internal security service, the Shin Bet, said police forces killed the gunman in a shootout near a mosque in Jaffa, the southernmost neighborhood of the city. municipality of Tel Aviv. The Shin Bet later said the shooter was a 28-year-old man from the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since capturing Jordan in 1967.

The shooting outside the bar was the fourth fatal attack in Israel in less than three weeks and claimed the total death toll since March 22-13. The assault heightened fears of an even more intense outbreak of violence over the next 10 days, when the rare convergence of Ramadan, Passover and Easter is expected to further heighten tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

Ten injured people were taken to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, two of whom later died and four of them were in critical condition, the hospital said. Five other people were physically or psychologically injured, police said.

Video from the scene showed a man in dark clothing approaching a seating area outside Ilka Bar on Dizengoff Street, then opening fire with what appeared to be a handgun before escaping .

The attack sparked surreal mayhem in the heart of Israel’s most cosmopolitan city, as crowds ran for shelter in nearby apartment buildings, bar basements and elevators, some of them knocking on the door of strangers to find shelter. Many got stuck there overnight.

In the chaos, an injured man, Mark Malfeyev, said he initially did not realize he was injured. After hearing the gunshots outside the bar and seeing his window smash, he began running for cover, unaware that he had been shot in the back. “Then I saw a lot of blood,” Mr Malfeyev said in a video filmed from his hospital bed and broadcast by Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster.

Troops in full combat gear then scoured the city center in search of the suspect, many of whom were filmed live by reporters running alongside them. Another video showed soldiers going from apartment to apartment, knocking on doors as they searched for the shooter.

Doctors at the scene said it brought back memories of past attacks in Israel, including a wave of violence between 2000 and 2005 known as the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, that killed at least 1,000 Israelis and 3,000 Palestinians.

“It’s been like this since I was born,” said Shragi Kirschenbaum, a doctor with United Hatzalah, an emergency medical service who treated victims at the scene. “I’m 37 – I don’t think I’ve had a year without a war or some kind of terrorist attack.”

Yisrael Weingarten, a paramedic with Magen David Adom, another emergency medical group, treated some of the victims and said he witnessed “a great commotion at the scene, with dozens of people running through the streets,” and seeing six people “lying on the sidewalk.”

Thursday’s attack happened 10 days after a gun attack in Bnei Braka town just east of Tel Aviv, in which a Palestinian attacker killed three Israelis and two Ukrainians.

The episode came just two days after a gun attack in which two Arab citizens of Israel, armed with heavy automatic weapons, killed shot two policemen in Hadera, a coastal city in northern Israel.

The series of deadly attacks began on March 22, when an assailant stabbed three people and rammed another with his car in a town in southern Israel, killing the four. Prior to the March 22 assault, there had also been two other non-lethal stabbing attacks in the space of a week in Jerusalem.

Most of the attacks in recent years have been carried out with bladed weapons, so the increase in the use of firearms is of particular concern to security officials, as it involves an unusual level of foresight and resources. .

At the time of the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was on his way to the Israeli army headquarters in a neighborhood near Tel Aviv, and was informed of the attack there.

The track records of recent attackers have varied. Three of the attackers were Arab citizens of Israel suspected of supporting Islamic State, the extremist group that is not part of the Palestinian nationalist movement. Two gunmen in Tel Aviv and Bnei Brak were Palestinians from the Jenin area in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.

One of them, the Tel Aviv shooter, had no history of militant activity, Israeli officials said. The Bnei Brak shooter previously served 30 months in an Israeli prison for conspiracy to commit manslaughter and throwing objects at vehicles.

No Palestinian militant group claimed responsibility for any of the attacks, but some groups, including Hamas, the Islamist militant group based in the Gaza Strip, praised them and said they were a natural response to the Israeli occupation. Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967 and, together with Egypt, has maintained a blockade of the Gaza Strip since 2007.

While the Palestinian Authority runs around 40% of the West Bank, the Israeli military still carries out daily raids even in areas run by the authority, and Israel operates a two-tier court system in the territory – one for settlers Israelis and one for the Palestinians.

Mr. Kirschenbaum, the doctor, said he was pleased with the presence of Arab and Jewish emergency responders at the scene. “We are all working together against terrorism, to save lives,” he said. “Jews and Arabs together,” he added.

Rawan Sheikh Ahmad contributed reporting from Haifa, Israel.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Gunman in Tel Aviv bar attack is shot and killed
Gunman in Tel Aviv bar attack is shot and killed
Newsrust - US Top News
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