The so-called Islamic State group (IS) has claimed responsibility after a pair of Arab gunmen killed two people and wounded four others in central Israel before they were shot dead by police.
The two people killed in the Sunday night attack in Hadera were Israeli police officers, authorities said.
The incident is the second deadly attack carried out by Arab assailants in an Israeli city in less than a week, ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The heart breaks over the deaths of Border Police officers Shirel Abukarat and Yezen Falah who fell defending civilians from abhorrent murderers.
We will not forget their heroism.
I wish a full recovery to the wounded and send my heartfelt condolences to the families
— Prime Minister of Israel (@IsraeliPM) March 28, 2022
On Tuesday, a lone attacker inspired by IS killed four people in a stabbing rampage in southern Israel before he was killed by passers-by, police said.
The attacks threatened to cast a shadow over a gathering of foreign ministers in the Negev desert, where the Iranian nuclear deal was expected to top the agenda.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett rushed to the scene of the shootings late on Sunday.
IS told its Aamaq news agency that it claims responsibility for the attack, saying two IS members killed two Israeli security forces personnel.
“The heart is broken” by the attacks, Mr Bennett said.
The Israeli premier issued the statement from home, after testing positive for the coronavirus.
He urged people to be vigilant, with police expected to set up checkpoints on major roads.
Ramadan is expected to begin on Saturday. Last year, clashes between Israeli police and Muslim protesters during the holy month boiled over into an 11-day war between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers.
Condemnation for the attacks poured in from governments around the world.
“Such senseless acts of violence and murder have no place in society,” tweeted US secretary of state Antony Blinken, who attended the gathering in the Negev with the foreign ministers of four Arab countries and Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid.
Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza, praised the attack as a “heroic operation”.
Security camera footage circulating on Israeli media showed two bearded men appearing to open fire in the city of Hadera before they are shot.
An Israeli official said two members of the Israeli Border Police counter-terrorism unit who were in a restaurant near the attack ran out and killed the assailants.
We condemn today’s terrorist attack in Hadera, Israel. Such senseless acts of violence and murder have no place in society. We stand with our Israeli partners and send our condolences to the families of the victims.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) March 27, 2022
The Israeli rescue service MADA confirmed the deaths of one man and one woman, and said four people were wounded, two seriously.
It released videos showing large numbers of police cars and ambulances in the area.
IS operates mainly in Iraq and Syria, where it has recently stepped up attacks against security forces there carried out through sleeper cells, despite its territorial defeat more than three years ago.
The extremist group has also claimed attacks against Israeli troops in the past and has branches in Afghanistan and in Asia and beyond.