Israeli Security Forces Kill Palestinian Gunman in Shootout in Tel Aviv

Israeli security forces killed a Palestinian gunman on early Friday, who opened fire on a busy Tel Aviv street on Thursday evening and escaped the scene after killing two people and wounding several others.

Police Commissioner Major General Yaakov (Kobi) Shabtai said that the Shin Bet security agency and Special Forces hunted down and killed the attacker “hiding near a mosque in Jaffa city” by exchange of fire.

Shabtai said that security forces were already on high alert when the shooting took place. “We killed the terrorist after he refused to surrender and opened fire on our security forces,” according to Shabtai.

There were no casualties reported among the security forces.

The shooter was identified as 29-year-old Ra’ad Hazem, a resident of the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank who was living in Israel illegally.

Israeli army said that Hazem was denied any entry permit to Israel under security considerations due to his “affiliation with the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades.”

Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital said Friday that one of the 10 people, who received injuries in the shooting, was “in critical condition with an immediate risk to his life”.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett received briefings through the night and will be holding security consultations later in the morning with Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, his office said.

“We maintain maximum vigilance within Tel Aviv and throughout the country for fear of further incidents or copycat attacks,” Bennett said.

“Our war against murderous terrorism is long and hard. We will win,” Bennet added.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned the attack in a tweet. “We are thinking of the victims of today’s attack and the families of those killed. May the memories of those who passed be a blessing,” Blinken said.

Thursday’s shooting is the latest in a surge of violence in Israel and the occupied West Bank since late March, and it was the fourth deadly attack in Israel by Palestinians that left dozens of people dead and wounded.

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