Four Israelis were killed and 6 were wounded in a terror attack in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night, when two Palestinian gunmen went on a shooting rampage in a popular marketplace located across the street from military headquarters.
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The four victims were identified on Thursday as Ido Ben Ari, a 42-year-old resident of Ramat Gan; Ilana Naba, a 39-year-old from Tel Aviv; Michael Feige, a 58-year-old from Midreshet Ben-Gurion; and Mila Mishayev, a 32-year-old resident of Rishon Letzion.
One of the assailants was shot by a security guard near the site of the attack and another was shot and wounded by police while trying to escape on a nearby street.
On Thursday morning, it was reported that four victims and the perpetrator of the attack were hospitalized in moderate condition at Ichilov Hospital's intensive care units.
The Palestinian assailants have been identified as two cousins from the West Bank town of Yatta near Hebron. IDF forces reportedly raided the homes of the assailants late last night.
The shooting took place at the Max Brenner restaurant in the Sarona Marketplace at around 9:30 p.m. An employee of the chain said the attackers were wearing suits and had ordered drinks before they suddenly jumped up and began shooting at point-blank range.
Surveillance cameras inside the restaurant showed a scene of mayhem, with people running desperately for cover, some racing out of the restaurant and others throwing themselves under tables. According to an eyewitness report, some of the diners sought cover in the restaurant refrigerator.
A woman identified as Anna, who was in the restaurant, told the Ynet news site: “I saw the blood and I saw him. I saw the terrorist. I saw someone with a gun shooting all over. He simply ran out of the restaurant and began shooting inside the restaurant and outside.”
Another witness named Tomer, who was outside the restaurant at the time, reported seeing people running frantically. “It wasn’t like a regular terror attack,” he told Ynet. “The shooting continued for at least a minute. They ordered us to get into the closed area of the market.”
Rumors that a third assailant was also on the loose were quickly dispelled by police. An eyewitness inside the restaurant said the gunmen had tried to disguise themselves as Orthodox Jews by wearing yarmulkes on their heads. That report has not been confirmed.
The Tel Aviv municipality plans to upgrade security around the city, particular near schools and daycare centers.
The Sarona Marketplace, opened just a few years ago, is a popular nightlife spot in Tel Aviv, drawing visitors from around the country to its shops, restaurants and cafes.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, landing in Israel at about midnight from a trip to Moscow, rushed immediately to the site of the attack, accompanied by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
“This attack was carried out by people who don’t value life,” said Netanyahu, who praised the police and security guard for responding quickly. “They prevented a greater tragedy,” he said.
Lieberman, who was installed as defense minister last week, said: “This is not the time for declarations, but we will do what is required.”
This was the second terror attack in Tel Aviv in less than 10 days. On May 30, an Israeli soldier was stabbed in the Nahalat Yitzhak neighborhood, not far from the site of the latest incident.