A Palestinian gunman shot and killed five people in Tel Aviv, Israeli police said, marking the third such attack in Israel in less than a week.
The attack began in the ultra-orthodox city of Bnei Brak, just east of Tel Aviv, and progressed to the Ramat Gan gateway.
According to a police spokesperson, at least one offender fired an assault weapon against bystanders in many locations before being slain by local police forces. It’s unclear if one of the victims was an assailant.
According to Israeli police, the attacker was Dia Hamarsheh, a 27-year-old Palestinian from a town near Jenin in the West Bank.
The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the Palestinian Fatah movement’s armed wing, claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was “a clear message written in blood in response to the Negev summit,” referring to Israel’s historic meeting with foreign ministers from four Arab countries and the United States earlier this week.
A police officer who confronted the perpetrator was among the five killed, authorities said in a statement. The shooting also resulted in the deaths of two Ukrainian citizens. According to Israeli media, the Ukrainian casualties were not refugees and had already been in the country before to Russia’s invasion of their country. The strike occurred the day after a historic regional summit in Israel’s Negev desert, which brought together top diplomats from the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt, Israel, and the United States to discuss security issues. According to a police spokeswoman, all task force headquarters in the district will deal with continuing security, which means that officers will suspend most of their other tasks and focus on counter-terrorism, presence on the streets, and civilian security. Furthermore, Israel’s police commissioner ordered the reinforcement of tens of thousands of police officers on missions to secure educational institutions, central stations, and busy locations.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) recently stated that more troops would be sent to the West Bank.
“Killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians only leads to a further deterioration of the situation, as we all want to maintain calm, especially as we approach the holy month of Ramadan and Christian and Jewish festivals,” said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in a statement.
“Abbas warned settlers and others against using this condemned incident to carry out attacks and reactions against our Palestinian people,” the statement said, adding that “the cycle of violence confirms that permanent, comprehensive, and just peace is the quickest and correct way to provide security and stability for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, as well as the people of the region.”
Palestinian extremist groups like Islamic Jihad, on the other hand, hailed the attack. The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades said the attack was “a clear message written in blood in response to the Negev summit,” referring to a meeting of foreign dignitaries. Hamas called the attack “heroic.”
Both the Be’er Sheva and Hadera attacks were claimed by ISIS. Since 2017, ISIS has not claimed responsibility for an incident in Israel.
Separately, tensions between Palestinians and Israelis have been escalating in Jerusalem and the West Bank, particularly as the Ramadan, Passover, and Easter holidays approach. Last year, violence and tensions in Jerusalem over this time helped to spark the ongoing conflict in Gaza, which was led by Hamas-led militants.
Since the beginning of the month, at least three stabbing attacks against Israelis have occurred in Jerusalem, while at least nine Palestinians, including several minors, have been shot and killed in skirmishes with Israeli police in the West Bank.