An unidentified gunman opened fire on a group celebrating a birthday at a Tel Aviv cafe, killing two and wounding seven before fleeing and prompting a major police search.
Police said the motive of the gunman, seen on security-camera footage as a young man dressed in black and bearing an automatic weapon, was unclear. The video showed the man walk into a grocery store, buy a snack, then pull the gun out of his knapsack, step out of the shop and start firing. Ynet reported that police are searching for an Israeli Arab who had previously voiced support for Islamic State. Police declined to comment.
The shooting came as Israel is on edge from daily stabbing and car attacks by Palestinians against civilians and soldiers. More than 20 Israelis and about 140 Palestinians have died in the violence since October.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said on Israel Radio that most of the victims were celebrating a birthday when they were shot. “Tel Aviv is not a stranger to such attacks,” he said, urging city residents to be steadfast.
Police said their top mission was to find the gunman and instructed Tel Aviv residents to remain alert. There were no warnings against going out to bars or pubs.