Two killed and eight wounded in Tel Aviv shooting

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Two Killed And Eight Wounded In Tel Aviv Shooting Two Killed And Eight Wounded In Tel Aviv Shooting
Israel Shooting, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Ariel Schalit, Associated Press

At least two people were killed and several wounded in a shooting in a crowded central Tel Aviv bar and restaurant district on Thursday night, Israeli medics said.

The motive for the shooting was not immediately clear, but it came amid heightened tensions following a series of deadly attacks carried out by Palestinians.

Live footage from Israel’s Kan broadcaster showed police flooding the area and training their guns on the upper story of a building. It also showed an explosion of some kind.


A woman reacts at the scene of a shooting attack In Tel Aviv (Ariel Schalit/AP)

Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency service said it received reports of a shooting at “several scenes” around downtown Tel Aviv.

It said it had evacuated six people to the nearby Ichilov hospital. The hospital said two people had died and that it was treating another eight who were wounded.

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At least one shooting took place on Dizengoff Street, a central thoroughfare and popular weekend hangout. Police urged people to avoid the area.

Dizengoff Street has been the scene of several deadly attacks over the years. Most recently, an Arab citizen of Israel shot and killed two Israelis and wounded several others on the street in January 2016.

The popular nightlife area was packed on Thursday evening, the beginning of the Israeli weekend.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was monitoring the situation from the Israeli military headquarters, which is also in downtown Tel Aviv, his office said.

Tensions have been high after a series of attacks by Palestinian assailants killed 11 people just ahead of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan, which began nearly a week ago. Last year, protests and clashes during Ramadan ignited an 11-day Gaza war.

Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian leaders have held a flurry of meetings in recent weeks, and Israel has taken a number of steps aimed at calming tensions, including issuing thousands of additional work permits for Palestinians from the Gaza Strip.

Prior to the attack, Israel had said it would allow women, children and men over 40 from the occupied West Bank to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in east Jerusalem on Friday, the first weekly prayers of Ramadan. Tens of thousands were expected to attend.

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The mosque is the third holiest site in Islam and sits on a hilltop that is the most sacred site for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount. The holy site has long been a flashpoint for Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Israel captured east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians want all three territories to form their future state.

The last serious and substantive peace talks broke down more than a decade ago, and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is opposed to Palestinian statehood.

Israel annexed east Jerusalem in a move not recognised internationally and considers the entire city to be its capital.

It withdrew soldiers and settlers from Gaza in 2005, but along with neighbouring Egypt it imposed a crippling blockade on the territory after the militant Hamas group seized power from rival Palestinian forces two years later. Israel and Hamas have fought four wars since then.

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