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Tel Aviv: Palestinian wounds three Israelis in shooting

Attack on busy downtown street comes hours after soldiers killed three Palestinians in the occupied West Bank
Israeli first responders arrive at the scene of a shooting in Tel Aviv, on 9 March 2023 (MEE/Oren Ziv)
By Oren Ziv in Tel Aviv, Israel

A Palestinian man opened fire on a busy Tel Aviv street on Thursday and wounded three people, before being shot dead, according to Israeli officials.

A police spokesperson told Middle East Eye the shooter has been identified as a 23-year-old Palestinian from the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

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The Palestinian movement Hamas said he was a member of the group and that the shooting was a "natural response" to recent deadly Israeli military raids in the West Bank. 

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A medic who was responding to the incident told MEE they treated three men in their 20s who were in critical, serious and moderate conditions. All three have been transferred to Ichilov Hospital to receive further treatment. 

The shooting took place on Dizengoff Street, a popular downtown area filled with restaurants and bars, and came hours after Israeli forces killed three Palestinians in what appeared to be a targeted killing near the West Bank city of Jenin earlier in the day.

Tensions have been high in Israel and Palestine in recent months as Israeli attacks in the West Bank intensify and Palestinian resistance grows. 

Israeli forces have killed at least 74 Palestinians this year - which corresponds to a rate of nearly one killing every day. 

It's the bloodiest start of a year since 2000, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

At least 13 Israelis were killed by Palestinians in the same period. 

Israeli police officer work to secure the scene of a shooting in Tel Aviv on 9 March 2023 (MEE/Oren Ziv)
Israeli police officer work to secure the scene of a shooting in Tel Aviv on 9 March 2023 (MEE/Oren Ziv)

Eyewitnesses told MEE the shooter on Thursday first opened fire at people near a restaurant around 9 pm local time and then fled the scene. He was pursued by two armed civilians and two police officers who killed him in a shootout minutes later, according to Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai. 

The quick reaction by the four men helped prevent a much worse situation, Shabtai told reports at the scene. 

One of the civilians, a police volunteer, who were part of the shootout told MEE he was in the area to pick up his daughter from a party. 

"I saw people running around and then took out my gun. I asked the two men injured where the terrorist ran and they told me he fled north and hid in an alleyway. When we got to him he started shooting at us and ran towards us before we shot him and he fell," he said. 

Menachem, another eyewitness who works at a juice bar across the road from where the shooting took place, described a scene of chaos after the first few shots were heard. 

"We heard the gunshots and everyone was running around. I saw two people on the ground and everyone rushing away," Menachem told MEE.

Dizengoff Street is often the target of deadly attacks when Israeli and Palestinian tensions are high. It was the scene of a suicide bombing in the 1990s, and deadly shootings in 2016 and 2022. 

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