Sunday 23 October 2016

Two dead as gunman opens fire on Tel Aviv bar

Published 01/01/2016 | 14:16

An Israeli eye witness sits with her dog at the scene of a shooting attack in Tel Aviv (AP)
An Israeli eye witness sits with her dog at the scene of a shooting attack in Tel Aviv (AP)

A gunman has opened fire at a popular bar in the central Israeli city of Tel Aviv, killing two people and wounding at least three others before fleeing the scene.

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The motive for the shooting spree, which took place on a busy main street, was not immediately clear and it was not known if the shooter was a Palestinian attacker, if it was a gangland shooting or if there was some other motive, police said.

Israeli Channel 10 TV showed CCTV footage of the incident, obtained from a health food shop next to the bar. It shows a man with short hair, glasses and a black bag over his shoulder scooping up some nuts, putting them in a plastic bag, then emptying them back.

The footage then shows the man walking towards the entrance of the shop, placing his backpack on a shopping trolley, taking a gun out of it. He then steps outside and starts shooting, after which he runs away.

The station's defence analyst Alon Ben-David said the shooter's calm demeanour and the way he was holding and shooting the gun show he was well trained. According to Mr Ben-David, a Koran, the Muslim holy book, was found later in the attacker's bag.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said five people were wounded, two of whom died in hospital.

She said a massive manhunt was under way for the shooter. Large police forces were deployed at the scene.

The attack comes amid more than three months of almost daily Palestinian attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers.

On the Israeli side, 21 people have died, mostly in stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks.

At least 131 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, 90 of them identified by Israel as assailants. The rest died in clashes with security forces.

Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai visited the wounded in hospital and later said he spoke to those who were able to talk. He said that inside the bar, "friends were celebrating a birthday and a man opened fire at them from the outside".

He said "lessons will be learned" to improve security.

Channel 10 also reported that the shooter used an assault rifle and fired about 30 shots. It said that Israeli police and special forces were going house to house in the area, searching for the gunman.

Later, police said an Arab Israeli man was found near the shooting scene with a gunshot wound and later died of his wounds in hospital.

The police said an investigation is under way and that it is not clear whether that man is in any way connected to the bar shooting.

Press Association

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