Hours after the shooting, the suspected gunman remained at large. Hundreds of Israeli police officers, canine units, and army special forces were conducting a massive manhunt in central Tel Aviv, searching building by building through the densely populated residential neighbourhoods.
Amichai Eshed, the Tel Aviv police commander, said the shooter opened fire into a crowded bar at around 9pm (18:00 GMT) and then fled the scene.
“Our working assumption is that he is still in the vicinity,” Eshed told reporters. “As of right now, there are indications pointing to this being a terrorist attack, but I have to be very delicate about this and say that we are also checking other leads.”
Live footage from Israel’s Kan broadcaster showed police flooding the area and training their guns on the upper story of a building. It also showed an explosion of some kind.
Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency service said it received reports of a shooting at “several scenes” around downtown Tel Aviv. At least one attack took place on Dizengoff Street, a central thoroughfare and popular weekend hangout.
Two of the wounded later died, The Times of Israel reported, citing officials at Ichilov Medical Center. The hospital was treating eight others – four who were in “critical condition” and undergoing surgery.
The motive for the shooting was not immediately clear, but tensions have soared following recent attacks by Palestinians that killed 11 people in Israel.
Five days later, two border police officers were killed in a shooting attack in Hadera. On March 30, two Israelis, two Ukrainian nationals, and a police officer were killed in a shooting attack in Bnei Brak.
Outside a café where shattered glass carpeted the ground outside the entrance, a man comforted a woman sitting on a barstool.
“It’s an atmosphere of war. Soldiers and police are everywhere,” said Binyamin Blum, who works in a restaurant near the scene of the attack.
Israeli security forces found and the terrorist, Raed Fathi Hazem from Jenin (رائد فتحي حازم من جنين) hiding in Jaffa, and killed him right after he start shooting at them.