Jerusalem, Apr 8 (EFE).- Israeli police on Friday killed the perpetrator of a shooting the night before in a popular nightlife area in central Tel Aviv that left two people dead and 13 others wounded.
The assailant, who was shot after a nine-hour manhunt that locked down the country’s second largest city, was identified as a 28-year-old Palestinian from the Jenin area of the northern occupied West Bank.
“We will fight terrorism together, we will attack these despicable terrorists wherever they hide, we will find those who dispatch them and those who help them, and we will not rest until calm returns to the streets,” said Israeli Defense Minister Beny Gantz after the attacker was shot dead.
Police remained on high alert throughout the country, including in the capital Jerusalem, where there is a large deployment of officers as tens of thousands of Palestinians prepared to attend the first Friday prayers of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
“We will react with a large deployment of force to any unusual case, as we did in Tel Aviv,” warned Israeli Police Chief Kobi Shabtai.
There was no evidence that Thursday’s assailant was affiliated with any armed group or Palestinian political faction, and he had no security or arrest record, according to a source in the Israeli Internal Security Service (Shin Bet) quoted by the local press.
Hamas, the Palestinian group that governs Gaza, called Thursday’s shooting a “natural and legitimate response to the escalation of the occupation’s crimes against our people, our land, Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque.”
But neither Hamas nor any other Palestinian armed faction claimed responsibility.
According to the Times of Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Benet ordered the closure of a crossing in the northern West Bank in view of the tense security situation, with the aim of restricting access to Israel from Jenin.
He also called on security forces to investigate whether any relatives of the attacker may have been involved.
Several of the wounded are in critical condition and one is “in immediate danger” of losing their life.
More than 20 Israelis and Palestinians have died in Israel and the Occupied Territories in political violence over the last 16 days.
Thursday was the sixth day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which is often marked by heightened tensions.
Last year, evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem during Ramadan led to disturbances that in turn sparked the eruption of violence between Israel and Palestinian armed factions that left nearly 250 people dead in Gaza and a dozen more in Israel. EFE