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Gunman kills 2 in attack on crowded Tel Aviv bar
Police ordered residents to go inside, lock their doors and stay away from their windows as they swept through the city searching for the assailant. Videos posted on social media showed scenes of chaos as emergency workers loaded victims onto stretchers and worked to clear debris.
The two fatalities were men in their 30s, according to Israel’s emergency services. Others suffered gunshot wounds to their chests and stomachs, medics said.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz were monitoring the situation from the military headquarters in Tel Aviv, several blocks from where the attack occurred, their offices said.
Israeli security forces were already on alert ahead of Friday, the first of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in preparation for potential clashes near Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem.
In May, also during Ramadan, clashes between Palestinians and Israelis near Damascus Gate helped spark an 11-day war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas that controls Gaza.
In a statement on its website Thursday, Hamas praised the attack in Tel Aviv, calling it a “heroic operation” that “led to the killing of a number of occupying soldiers and Zionist settlers.”
Steve Hendrix in Jerusalem and Hazem Balousha in Gaza City contributed to this report.