2 Israelis killed, 7 injured in Tel Aviv shooting

14:00 Jan 1 2016 Tel Aviv

Crime scene. Credit: Israeli Police

Police search for gunman who shot several people in central Tel Aviv, January 1, 2016. Credit: Ofer Vankin

TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) -- A shooting was carried out Friday near a Tel Aviv pub killing two Israelis and injuring seven, Israeli police and medics said.

An Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a statement that the shooter opened fire on Dizengoff street before fleeing the scene.

Israeli emergency service Magen David Adom said in initial reports that paramedics arrived to the scene and treated nine victims. Al-Samri confirmed that two were killed and medics reported the injured to include two in severe condition and five in moderate condition.

Israeli media reported that some of those injured were hit by broken glass that shattered when the attacker opened fire.

Al-Samri said that all injured were taken to Tel Aviv-area hospitals for treatment. Police were combing the area for the suspect following the attack and investigations are ongoing, adding that background information has yet to be gathered on the attack.

It is not yet clear if the incident was a suspected "terror attack" or criminally motivated, the Tel Aviv Municipality told Israeli media.
Israeli media reported that a suspect in the shooting had been identified as Mohammed Melhem, 29, a Palestinian citizen of Israel from the town of Wadi Ara.

Video footage from a surveillance camera shows a man shopping in a grocery on the street of the attack before grabbing a gun out of his backpack and opening fire outside the store.

The attack marks the first in the coastal city since Nov. 19 when two Israelis were stabbed and killed near Tel Aviv's Panorama building by a Palestinian from the Hebron-area village of Dura in the occupied West Bank.

A wave of unrest that erupted in October across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel has left over 140 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces and settlers, and 21 Israelis killed in attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals.

Two Killed, Seven Wounded in Shooting at Tel Aviv Pub

Massive manhunt underway for suspect, identified as an Israeli Arab; two seriously wounded in shooting on corner of Gordon and Dizengoff; growing consensus among security officials that shooting was a terrorist attack. i>

Ido Efrati and Yaniv Kubovich for Haaretz

Two people were killed and seven were wounded in an apparent shooting attack in a central Tel Aviv pub on Friday afternoon. A massive manhunt is underway for the assailant.

The police have identified an Israeli Arab resident of the northern town of Wadi Ara as the suspect. The suspect, 29, stole the gun from his father, who works in security. The father recognized the suspect from media reports, and after learning his weapon was gone, contacted the authorities. 

Two of the casualties are in serious condition, while the rest sustained light injuries. 

There is a growing consensus among security officials that the shooting was a terrorist attack. After holding a situation assessment, security officials warned civilians on Friday afternoon to remain alert as police special forces and the Shin Bet security service search for the assailant. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was briefed by the police and the Shin Bet about the ongoing investigation, his office said. 
The attack occurred at the Simta pub on Dizengoff 122, near the corner of Gordon St. One of people killed was identified as Alon Bakal, a manager at the pub. Bakal had moved to Tel Aviv three months ago after completing law and business studies in Netanya. The other was identified as Shimon Ruimi, 30, a resident of Ofakim. 

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