At least two dead in Tel Aviv attack

A new armed attack left at least two dead and numerous wounded on the night of Thursday, April 7, in the center of the Israeli metropolis Tel Aviv. Magen David Adom, the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross, said 16 injured had been taken to local hospitals.

“So far we have received ten wounded but, despite the efforts of the medical staff, two of them succumbed to their injuries”, meanwhile, said Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital, in a brief press release. The motive for the attack has not yet been clearly established.

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On Thursday night, witnesses at the scene told Agence France-Presse (AFP) they heard gunshots and saw scenes of chaos in central Tel Aviv, where Israeli police said they were deployed. “It is an atmosphere of war, soldiers and police everywhere; they searched a restaurant, people cry and run in all directions”a witness who works near the scene of the attack told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Fourth attack in three weeks in the country

In a press release, the security forces asked the population not to go out into the streets to avoid being targeted by fire. “Police are asking people to stay home and allow law enforcement to deal with the incident which is still ongoing, to track down the suspects.”he said in a statement.

“The terrorist has fled and we are doing everything possible to locate him”Israeli police spokeswoman Mirit Ben Mayor said, noting that “hundreds” of the agents stepped on the heels of the aggressor

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held talks with the country’s top security officials at the end of which he decided “strengthen” the presence of law enforcement in Tel Aviv.

“It was a very difficult night (…) no matter where this terrorist is hiding, we will find him. And whoever helped him, directly or indirectly, will pay the price.”Mr. Bennett said.

On Thursday night, the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas ” popular “ an “heroic operation” and Islamic Jihad has “greeted” an attack that he considers a “natural response” toward « crimes » of Israel, including the recent raid on Jenin.

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Multiplication of operations in the occupied West Bank

This is the fourth attack in three weeks in the country and the second in nine days in Tel Aviv. Last week, a Palestinian from the occupied West Bank opened fire on crowds while driving in the Orthodox Jewish city of Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv. killing five people, including two Ukrainians and an Israeli Arab policeman. A few days earlier, two policemen, including a young Franco-Israeli, had been killed in a shooting claimed by the Islamic State organization (EI) in Hadera (north of the country).

On March 22, in Beersheva, a large city in the Negev desert (south), four Israelis were killed in a knife attack and car crash perpetrated by a teacher, sentenced in 2016 to four years in prison for planning to travel to Syria to fight for IS.

Following these attacks, the Israeli army, police and internal security services arrested dozens of people suspected of links to IS in Israel, and increased operations in the occupied West Bank, particularly in Jenin, the northern sector. of this Palestinian territory. where the assailant of the Bnei Brak attack was from.

At least three members of the Islamic Jihad, the second Palestinian armed movement after Hamas, were killed during an exchange of fire in connection with these operations in Jenin.

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The attack in central Tel Aviv comes as Israeli police forces were preparing to go on high alert for the first major Friday prayers since the start of Ramadan at Jerusalem’s Al-Masjid Esplanade. Last year, clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police on the sidelines of large rallies in East Jerusalem, an area occupied by Israel since 1967, led to an 11-day war between Hamas, which holds power in the Gaza Strip, and Israel.

Le Monde and AFP

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