March 29 (UPI) — Five people were killed in a Tel Aviv suburb during a shooting attack Tuesday night, according to police, making it the third such attack in the Middle Eastern country in a week.
A police officer was among those killed, authorities said, with the other four being civilians.
Israel Police identified the slain officer as 32-year-old Amir Khoury, who served with the Bnei Brak station’s motorcycle unit in the Dan area of Tel Aviv.
The shooting began at about 8 p.m. when the gunman opened fire on civilians with an automatic weapon. Shortly after, police said they received reports of a shooting in a second location nearby.
Two motorcycle officers arrived on the scene and “neutralized” the gunman, Israel Police said.
Following the shooting, Khoury was transported to a local hospital in critical condition but was pronounced dead soon after arrival, Magen David Adom, Israel’s national emergency medical service, said in a statement.
Menachem Englander, an EMT who lives in the area, said he was home when the shooting began.
“I immediately went out to the street and saw a terrorist pointing a weapon at me. By a miracle his weapon jammed and he couldn’t shoot,” Englander said. “I mediately locked my door and reported the emergency.”
The medical service said three men in their 30s were pronounced dead at the scene with the fourth victim, a man in his 40s, located deceased about 300 feet away.
Local media has identified the shooter as 26-year-old Diaa Hamarsheh, a Palestinian man from the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The attack is the third in a week, resulting in the deaths of 11 people, including two police officers Sunday night and four civilians on Tuesday.
“Israel is facing a wave of murderous Arab terrorism,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a video message. “The security forces are at work. We will fight terrorism with persistence, diligence and an iron fist.”
“We will prevail,” he said.
The shooting occurred a day after the foreign ministers of the United States, Israel, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates met for an unprecedented meeting between the Arab nations and Jerusalem.
During the summit, two Israeli police officers were fatally shot in a terrorist attack committed by the Islamic State in northern Israel on Sunday night.
The Israel Defense Force said Tuesday it has deployed additional troops to the Judea and Samaria area that encompasses the West Bank amid fears of an escalation in violence with the start of Ramadan, which begins Friday.
The Palestinian Authority issued a statement to Israeli media Tuesday night, condemning the attack.
“The killing of Israeli and Palestinian civilians will only lead to a deterioration of the situation ahead of Ramadan,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said.
“We are trying to obtain some stability.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned the attack in a statement Tuesday night.
“This violence is unacceptable,” he said. “Israelis — like all people around the world — should be able to live in peace and without fear. Our hearts go out to the families of those killed in the attacks.”