5 Killed In Shootings In Tel Aviv Suburb
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
TEL AVIV (Worthy News) – Israeli paramedics say at least five people died in a shooting attack in a Tel Aviv suburb, stirring fears that the Islamic State group is launching a campaign of terror ahead of the Muslim month of Ramadan.
One of the victims was a police officer trying to stop the attacker, while the other victims were civilians, officials explained. Police said the gunman was shot dead at the scene by police officer Amir Khoury, 32, from the northern Israeli city of Nof Hagalil.
The attacker was named Diaa Hamarsheha, a 26-year-old Palestinian from Ya’bad, near Jenin, in the West Bank.
He had apparently been in Israel illegally. The shooter was arrested by Israel in 2013 for security offenses and served a six-month sentence, authorities said.
A Palestinian suspect at a construction site near the crime scene, also without an entry permit, was detained, Israeli media reported.
Before he was killed, Hamarsheha, dressed in black, reportedly pointed an assault rifle in the street in Bnei Brak, a Jewish ultra-Orthodox city east of Tel Aviv, Israel’s commercial capital.
Witnesses said the gunman began shooting at apartment balconies and then at people on the street, a store, and a car before he was fatally shot.
Dramatic footage obtained by media showed the assailant entering a convenience store and firing at a young man, who was seen escaping into a nearby building.
He then aimed his rifle at another person riding on a bike but missed and then opened fire at a passing car. After the vehicle came to a standstill, the gunman came closer to it and fired through the window at the driver, who was killed. Soon after, the attacker was shot and killed, witnesses said.
Ramat Gan Mayor Carmel Shama-Hacohen had called on the city’s residents not to leave their homes if not absolutely necessary.
Following the shootings, Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned extremists that his nation would stand up against terror.
“Israel faces a murderous Arab terror wave… We will fight terrorism with persistence, diligence, and an iron fist… We will win,” he stressed in a statement.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz sent his condolences to the families of the victims. “We have been through difficult times as a nation and as a country against terror waves. And we have always won with determination and strength, and thus it shall be this time as well,” he wrote on social media.
Tuesday’s violence capped one of the bloodiest weeks in recent years in Israel ahead of Ramadan, which starts next month.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides said on the social networking site Twitter: “My heart goes out to the families of the victims. No one should have to endure such heartbreak.”
British Foreign Minister Liz Truss also expressed her condolences on Twitter: “I am deeply saddened by another terrible terror attack in Israel today. My thoughts are with the Israeli people, especially those affected,” she wrote. “The U.K. condemns this horrifying and senseless violence.”
Israeli security forces are stepping up their presence amid the rising tensions in the West Bank and the areas bordering it. The military recently expressed concern over a deteriorating security situation in the West Bank and Jerusalem ahead of the Passover and Ramadan holidays. It cited several deadly incidents between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians.
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