A new attack causes two deaths and sows terror in Tel Aviv | International


One of those injured in the Tel Aviv attack, this Thursday upon arrival at a hospital.GIDEON MARKOWICZ (AFP)

A new attack with firearms, the fourth in two weeks, has spread terror on Thursday night in the center of Tel Aviv, where at least two people have been shot dead. An armed man has opened fire indiscriminately in the leisure area of ​​Dizengoff Street, one of the busiest in the coastal city. A police spokesman reported through the public television channel KAN that the emergency services had evacuated at least eight gunshot wounds, four of them in serious condition, to various hospitals. The shots were fired along bars with terraces, packed with customers amid spring temperatures at the start of the weekend in the Middle East.

Tel Aviv has relived scenes of violence and panic unprecedented since the Second Intifada (2000-2005). As then, the army has returned to patrol the streets of Israel’s economic and cultural capital. From the same place of the attack, the mayor of Tel Aviv, Labor Ron Huldai, asked citizens to stay in their homes to facilitate the tasks of the security forces, who were trying to capture the author of the attack after he had fled walking.

Television images showed dozens of ambulances and police vehicles amid scenes of chaos in the central district of bars and restaurants. A thousand members of the security forces, many of them in military equipment, roamed the streets and carried out house-to-house searches in an atmosphere of night warfare in search of the attacker.

Israeli agents work near the scene of a shooting.
Israeli agents work near the scene of a shooting.CORINNA KERN (REUTERS)

Witnesses to the attack described before the cameras the scenes of terror among the clients of the terraces crouched under the tables while they were shot. The Red Star of David treated two dozen injured people. The images also showed hundreds of terrified citizens running away.

After the death of 11 people in the wave of attacks registered between March 22 and 29, the army has returned to patrol since this week through the center of the main cities of Israel, for the first time since the Intifada of the Knives of 2015-2016. Hundreds of civilians also carry rifles and pistols ostensibly through those same streets, following the recommendation of the Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett. The head of the Government immediately met with the leadership of national security at the headquarters of the Armed Forces in Tel Aviv.

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The mobilization in the face of one of the largest chains of shooting attacks in urban areas, committed by Arabs of Israeli nationality and Palestinians from the West Bank, has blown up the difference between the territories located on both sides of the Green Line, the dividing line between Israel and the territories Palestinians. The radical groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad justified the attack, without attributing it, as “a natural response” to Israeli violence in the Islamic holy sites of Jerusalem.

The escalation of attacks has also impacted against the fragile coalition of disparate political forces led by the ultra-nationalist Bennett, who has lost the majority in the Knesset (Parliament) this week. The political alliance had been forged just 10 months ago with the aim of removing conservative Benjamin Netanyahu from power after 12 years in power.

The first two attacks of the current wave surprised the intelligence services in Beersheva (four dead) and Hadera (two dead) at the end of March, due to the unexpected participation of Arabs with Israeli citizenship who had already been sentenced in the past for their links to the Islamic State. The third, which claimed the lives of five people in Bnei Brak (an ultra-religious district of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area), was committed on the 29th by a Palestinian who infiltrated from Jenin (north of the West Bank), and who had also been imprisoned. for his affiliation with Islamic Jihad.

The convergence during the month of April of the Muslim Ramadan with the Jewish Passover (which this year fully coincides with the Christian Holy Week) makes the authorities fear that violence will escalate in the West Bank and, above all, in East Jerusalem. The Old City has experienced clashes between Palestinian protesters and police on the first nights of Ramadan, such as those that preceded Israel’s military intervention in the Gaza Strip in May 2021. The security forces are already in a state of maximum alert before the celebration of the first Friday of Ramadan, whose massive prayer in the Esplanade of the Mosques of Jerusalem threatens to trigger the spiral of tension.

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