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At least 4 slain, more wounded in Tel Aviv shopping centre shooting

Police said the two shooters were Palestinians from Hebron in the southern West Bank
Israeli security forces, emergency personnel and civilians at shooting site in central Tel Aviv on Wednesday (AFP)

At least four people were killed and several wounded in a shooting in a central Tel Aviv shopping centre on Wednesday night, according to local media reports.

Israeli police reportedly arrested one suspect and are searching for a second as nearby shops in Sarona Market mall were evacuated. 

"The death has just been determined of three persons," said an initial statement from Ichilov Hospital, which is near the bar-and-restaurant where nine people were shot, and across the street from Israel's defence ministry and main army headquarters.

Later, Israeli news reports said a fourth person had died.

The Palestinian news agency Maan quoted an Israeli police spokeswoman as saying a suspect in the shooting had been "neutralised" and that the shootings were a suspected "terror attack".

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, two shooters, apparently disguised as ultra-Orthodox Jews, fired at passersby near Benedict restaurant.

The Israeli news site Ynet reported that five people were wounded in the attack, four of them seriously and one critically.

Police said the gunmen who carried out the shooting are both Palestinians from the occupied West Bank.

"The terrorists who carried out the attack ... are cousins from the Hebron district," police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was landing at Ben Gurion airport on his way back from Russia at the time of the shooting, and was transported to the Ministry of Defence headquarters to hold a security meeting, Ynet said.
Amichai Stein, a deputy editor at Israel's Channel 1 news, posted video on Twitter of people he said were running after the attack:

Meanwhile, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyyeh praised the attack:

Translation: All praise and salutations to the Hebronites.

Translation: One of the heroes who carried out the #TelAviv operation. Much mercy and light on your sweet souls.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said: "We ask the public to remain calm. We in Tel Aviv are a target of terrorism, and they are trying to disrupt our lives. We will continue to enjoy living in the city, and terrorism will not make us surrender. I ask everyone to return to their daily routine tomorrow.

The US State Department denounced the shooting, calling it a "horrific terrorist attack".

"We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those killed and our hopes for a quick recovery for those wounded," it said in a statement.

"These cowardly attacks against innocent civilians can never be justified. We are in touch with Israeli authorities to express our support and concern."

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov, also condemned the attack.

"Our prayers are with the families of those killed. I am also shocked to see Hamas welcome the terror attack," Mladenov said in a statement.

"Leaders must stand against violence and the incitement that fuels it, not condone it," he said.

Violence in Israel-Palestine since October of last year has left at least 207 Palestinians, 28 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese dead, according to a count by AFP.

Many of the Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces after carrying out or attempting to carry out attacks, according to Israeli authorities.

Others were shot and killed during protests or died in Israeli air strikes on the besieged Gaza Strip.

In the several weeks prior to Wednesday's attack, violence by Palestinians had largely abated.

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