TEL AVIV: A gunman has killed at least five people in Bnei Brak, an ultra-Orthodox suburb of the Israeli city Tel Aviv, before being shot dead.
We, unfortunately, have to note that five people have died,” Eli Bin, the head of the Magen David Adom emergency responders, said.
Another person suffered life-threatening injuries, according to a spokesperson for the ZAKA rescue service.
A man equipped with an assault weapon opened fire on passers-by in two different areas in Bnei Brak, Tel Aviv’s east, according to police. Officers on the scene fired shots at him.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has convened an emergency conference of top security officials, claiming that the country is being engulfed by a “wave of homicidal Arab terrorism.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the killing of Israeli civilians and stressed that the killing of Israelis and Palestinians would only lead to a deterioration of the situation, cautioning against retaliatory attacks by Jewish settlers and others, the Palestinian news agency reported.
The attack is the latest in a series of incidents in Israel that have prompted security worries. It happened two days after two police officers were killed in a shooting in Hadera, and a week after four people were killed in a stabbing in Beer al-Sabe (Be’er Sheva) in the south.
ISIL claimed credit for both attacks in the last week, both of which resulted in the deaths of the perpetrators.
The US said it “strongly denounced” what it called a “terrorist attack” in Bnei Brak, citing a string of previous occurrences.
As part of a security crackdown provoked by the recent attacks, Israeli security authorities raided the homes of at least 12 Palestinian citizens of Israel on Tuesday, arresting two people suspected of having ties to ISIL.
Bennett had declared just hours before the raid that the recent attacks within Israel represented a “new circumstance” that necessitated increased security measures.
The attack occurred just before Ramadan, a holy month in which tensions between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters have boiled over in recent years, and Israeli security forces have raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque site multiple times.
Last year, fighting in Gaza escalated into an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas, which has ruled the beleaguered territory since 2007.
Following Tuesday’s attack, the German authorities warned of “a spiral of violence around the next holidays for Jews, Muslims, and Christians.”
“All those with responsibilities and influence must unequivocally denounce these acts of violence in order to prevent a further escalation of violence,” a spokesman for the German foreign ministry said in a statement.