Tel Aviv Shooting a 'Terrorist Attack,' Israel Says As Hamas Celebrates

At least two people were killed and several others were wounded in a shooting in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Thursday.

Shots were fired in an area with restaurants and bars on Dizengoff Street in the central part of the city, the Associated Press reported. Authorities described the incident as a "terrorist attack," the report added.

Islamic Palestinian militant group Hamas has not claimed responsibility for the attack, but senior Hamas official Mushir al-Masri said that "resistance operations are a natural response to Israel's crimes against the Palestinian people," according to The Times of Israel, which added that Hamas officials celebrated the attack. The news outlet reported that masked men in Ramallah were seen handing out candy after the incident, a common act of celebration.

The attack is the latest in what Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and observers have called a "wave of terror," which the ministry says has been going on since September 2015. Just in the past few weeks, a Palestinian gunman killed five people in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bnei Brak and a reported terrorist stabbed four people in a shopping mall in Beersheba.

Shooting in Tel Aviv
At least two people were killed in a shooting in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Thursday. Above, security forces gather at the scene of a shooting attack on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv on April 7. Photo by Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

Police are still searching for the attacker in Thursday's shooting. Authorities told The Times of Israel that the suspected shooter was wearing a black T-shirt, black pants and a blue backpack.

Amichai Eshed, Tel Aviv's police commander, told reporters that a shooter went into a crowded bar and opened fire around 9 p.m. local time then fled the scene, though the country's Magen David Adom emergency service said there were reports of shooting at "several scenes," the AP reported.

"Our working assumption is that he is still in the vicinity," Eshed said. "As of right now, there are indications pointing to this being a terrorist attack, but I have to be very delicate about this, and say that we are also checking other leads."

Tel Aviv's Ichilov hospital told the BBC that eight people were wounded in the shooting, four of them critically. The four seriously hurt victims were undergoing surgery, The Times of Israel reported, adding that medical teams were "fighting for the lives" of the surviving victims.

A resident who was having dinner nearby during the time of the attack told The Times of Israel that there was a "huge racket and a wave of people as everyone started running."

"As we walked along Dizengoff all we could see at all the bars were fallen tables and broken glass," he added.

In a statement posted to his Twitter, Tor Wennesland, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said he is "appalled" by the "heinous attack."

"My deepest condolences to the families of the victims & wishing a speedy recovery to the injured," he wrote. "Deplore the welcoming of this attack by Hamas; there is no glory in terror. These acts must stop now & be condemned by all."

Update 4/7/2022 6:07 p.m. ET: This story was updated to add more information and background.