Three people were killed and at least eight others were wounded in a shooting attack in Tel Aviv at around 9:30 pm Wednesday night. One victim is listed in critical condition and four others are listed in serious condition.
Police said two Palestinian gunmen were involved in the terror attack. They sat in the Max Brenner inside the Sarona complex and then began a shooting spree. They were seen using Carl Gustav-style guns, and according to Israel Radio they also had knives.
Officials said one gunman was arrested in the Sarona complex, but the other fled the scene, and carried on shooting before he too was stopped. Both were in custody Wednesday night. One of them, who was shot by security forces, was taken to Ichilov hospital in police custody. Police later confirmed they are Palestinian relatives, 21-year-old cousins, from the Hebron area in the West Bank.
Some unconfirmed reports spoke of a third gunman who escaped, but police and soldiers deployed in the surrounding streets called off the search after an hour.
Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan visited the Sarona Market in central Tel Aviv, site of Wednesday night’s shooting attack, following an emergency briefing at IDF headquarters, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Netanyahu landed in Israel from an official visit to Moscow shortly after the attack.
“This was a difficult event, a cold-blooded murder by criminal terrorists,” the prime minister said in a statement. “I want first of all to send condolences to the families whose worlds were decimated at this moment, and of course wishes for the swift healing of the wounded.”
“We discussed a series of offensive and defensive steps that we will take in order to act against this serious phenomenon of shootings. This is a challenge, and we shall meet it,” he said without elaborating.
“We’re in the middle of a complex period. We will act decisively and intelligently,” he said, vowing “determined action by the police, IDF and security agencies to locate all collaborators who took part in this murder, and to prevent future attacks.”
The Times of Israel is liveblogging Wednesday’s events as they happen.
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Regardless of the tremendous efforts such an operation would entail, Ariel insisted “we have to aspire to the annexation of Area C.”
Ariel’s comments come amid Netanyahu’s recent initiatives towards a solution consisting of ‘two states for two peoples’. Netanyahu’s gestures have thus far been proven unsuccessful, as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has all but refused to appear at the negotiating table so long as Israel continues construction.
“There is no way that we remain in a government that takes territory from the Land of Israel and hands it to others — the word ‘return’ isn’t appropriate — it’s ours, not theirs,” he said. “We have been there [in the West Bank] for 49 years, 50 years — compared to 19 years in which the Jordanians [controlled it.] There can be no comparison. It’s absurd.”