U.S. Urges Israel Not to Punish Innocent Palestinians for Tel Aviv Attack

When responding to the terror attack, Israel should take into consideration 'the impact on Palestinian citizens that are trying to go about their daily lives,' U.S. State Department says.

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Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman visits site of a Tel Aviv gun assault earlier this month.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman visits site of a Tel Aviv gun assault earlier this month.Credit: Gil Cohen-Magen, AFP

Israel's response to Wednesday's gun attack in Tel Aviv should be designed in a way that does not punish innocent Palestinians, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday.

"We understand the Israeli government's desire to protect its citizens ... and we strongly support that right, but we would hope that any measures it takes are designed to also take into consideration the impact on Palestinian citizens that are trying to go about their daily lives," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told a news briefing.

Four people were killed and six others were wounded in a shooting attack at a food and shopping center in Tel Aviv on Wednesday evening, after two Palestinian gunmen opened fire on passersby.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by saying that the “attack was carried out by people who don’t value life." Lieberman, who was installed as defense minister last week, said: “This is not the time for declarations, but we will do what is required.”

Israeli soldiers stop Palestinians at the entrance of Yatta, home of the Palestinians who shot and killed four Israelis in Tel Aviv, West Bank, June 9, 2016. Credit: Mussa Qawasma, Reuters

Following the attack, all permits given to Palestinians for Ramadan were suspended. These include some 83,000 permits, most of them to visit family in Israel. Permits for Gaza residents to pray at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem have also been suspended.

The two terrorists from Yatta, a West Bank town near Hebron, were arrested on Wednesday night. The police arrested the accomplice, Netanyahu revealed on Thursday evening during a press conference at the scene of the attack.

"We have decided on a series of aggressive steps. We have surrounded Yatta," Netanyahu announced. "We caught the man who collaborated," referring to the third arrestee.

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