Police: 4 killed in Palestinian shooting attack in Tel Aviv

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

Deadly Shooting Attack at Tel Aviv Shopping Mall

TEL AVIV, June 8 (Reuters) - Two Palestinian gunmen killed at least four people at a popular shopping and restaurant area in Tel Aviv on Wednesday in an attack that sent diners, some clutching small children, running for their lives just outside Israel's Defence Ministry.

Both gunmen, identified by police as Palestinians from a village near the city of Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, were apprehended, and one was wounded.

SEE ALSO: 6 states listed as prime targets on new ISIS 'kill list'

Security footage showed the pair, dressed in suit and tie and posing as customers at a restaurant, suddenly pull out automatic weapons and open fire, shooting one man point blank, as other diners fled.

Police said the assailants killed four people in the 9:30 p.m. (1830 GMT) assault and that six were wounded.

The attack, as families were enjoying a balmy evening out at the trendy Sarona complex, was one of the most serious in the country's business and entertainment capital since a wave of Palestinian violence erupted eight months ago.

A lull over the past several months in what had been near-daily stabbings and shootings made the attack just meters (yards) from the sprawling defense compound surprising and was likely to bring back a sense of insecurity to Israeli streets.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, returning from a visit to Moscow, rushed directly to the Defence Ministry to assess the situation with senior ministers and security chiefs.

"I was with the family, eating pizza. We heard the shots, we didn't know what was happening, and everybody got down on the floor. We managed to escape to a cellar," a woman, who gave her name only as Annette, told Israel's Channel 10 television.

See images from the scene:

15 PHOTOS
Tel Aviv shooting
See Gallery
Police: 4 killed in Palestinian shooting attack in Tel Aviv
Israeli security forces walk at a shopping complex in the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv following a shooting attack on June 8, 2016. At least three people were killed and several wounded in the shooting spree, emergency services said. Police said that it appeared to be a militant attack, but they could not immediately give any details of the attacker or victims. / AFP / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli forensic police inspect a restaurant following a shooting attack at a shopping complex in the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv on June 8, 2016. At least three people were killed and several wounded in the shooting spree, emergency services said. Police said that it appeared to be a militant attack, but they could not immediately give any details of the attacker or victims. / AFP / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli forensic police inspect a restaurant following a shooting attack at a shopping complex in the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv on June 8, 2016. At least three people were killed and several wounded in the shooting spree, emergency services said. Police said that it appeared to be a militant attack, but they could not immediately give any details of the attacker or victims. / AFP / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli security forces and emergency personnel are seen at the site of a shooting attack at a shopping complex in the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv on June 8, 2016. At least three people were killed and several wounded in the shooting spree, emergency services said in a statement. Police said that it appeared to be a militant attack, but they could not immediately give any details of the attacker or victims. / AFP / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli security forces and emergency personnel are seen at the site of a shooting attack at a shopping complex in the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv on June 8, 2016. At least three people were killed and several wounded in the shooting spree, emergency services said in a statement. Police said that it appeared to be a militant attack, but they could not immediately give any details of the attacker or victims. / AFP / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli security forces, emergency personnel and civilians are seen at the site of a gun attack in the coastal city of Tel Aviv on June 8, 2016. / AFP / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
An Israeli policewoman (R) interviews a witness at the site of a shooting attack at a shopping complex in the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv on June 8, 2016. At least three people were killed and several wounded in the shooting spree, emergency services said in a statement. Police said that it appeared to be a militant attack, but they could not immediately give any details of the attacker or victims. / AFP / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli security forces inspect the site of a shooting attack in the coastal city of Tel Aviv on June 8, 2016. Nine people were wounded, one gravely, in the shooting spree near Israel's defence ministry and main army headquarters in Tel Aviv, emergency services said in a statement. Police said that it appeared to be a militant attack, but they could not immediately give any details of the attacker or victims. / AFP / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli security forces inspect a restaurant following a shooting attack in the coastal Mediterranean city of Tel Aviv on June 8, 2016. Nine people were wounded, one gravely, in the shooting spree near Israel's defence ministry and main army headquarters in Tel Aviv, emergency services said in a statement. Police said that it appeared to be a militant attack, but they could not immediately give any details of the attacker or victims. / AFP / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli security personnel search the area following a shooting attack in the center of Tel Aviv June 8, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Israeli policemen secure the entrance to a restaurant following a shooting attack in the center of Tel Aviv June 8, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
An Israeli policeman clears the area after a shooting attack took place in the center of Tel Aviv June 8, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Israeli policemen work inside a restaurant following a shooting attack in the center of Tel Aviv June 8, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Israeli security personnel secure the area where a shooting attack took place in the center of Tel Aviv June 8, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner *** Local Caption *** December 2015. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Security personnel who guard the Sarona complex fired back.

In the last half year, Palestinian attacks have killed 31 Israelis and two visiting U.S. citizens. Israeli forces have shot dead at least 196 Palestinians, 134 of whom Israel has said were assailants. Others were killed in clashes and protests.

Tensions over Jewish access to a volatile and contested Jerusalem holy site, revered by Muslims as Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) and Jews as Temple Mount, have fueled the violence.

Israel says incitement in the Palestinian media and personal problems at home have been important factors spurring assailants, often teenagers, to carry out attacks.

But Israeli officials also have pointed to efforts in recent months by the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank, to curb the assaults.

In a similar attack in Tel Aviv five months ago, an Israeli Arab killed two people on a main shopping street and the driver of a taxi he used to flee the scene. The assailant was killed a week later in a shootout with police at a hideout in his home village in northern Israel.

(Reporting by Rami Amichai; Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Jeffrey Heller/Mark Heinrich)

Read Full Story

People are Reading