Palestinian Gunmen Kill Four in Crowded Tel Aviv Restaurant District

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Israeli security personnel search the Sarona area after a shooting attack in the center of Tel Aviv that left four dead and five injured, June 8, 2016. One gunman was detained, the other shot by police in the hubbub of Israel’s biggest open air market. Residents appear to have taken it in their stride. REUTERS/Baz Ratner Baz Ratner/reuters

On Wednesday, thousands in Tel Aviv were enjoying the beautiful summer evening when gunmen opened fire on diners at the crowded Benedict eatery. Initial reports suggest the terrorists were using home-made machine guns and fired until they ran out of ammunition, killing and injuring nine.

A private security guard from the market was able to disable one of the attackers and a second ran from the Sarona market into a side street. Police followed the attacker and shot him.

Within moments, ambulances arrived. Four of the injured taken to the nearby Icholov hospital were pronounced dead. The five others remain in the hospital and are in very serious condition.

Events of the last several hours have shattered the calm that had settled over Israel these last few weeks. Most people believed that the current wave of deadly attacks was essentially over.

This one took place in the shadow of Israel's Defense Headquarters. Sarona Market is the very center of what one could call Tel Aviv normalcy.

Ten years ago, Sarona was the rundown part of Israeli Army headquarters, and an area of old homes that had once been a German Templer settlement from the 19th century.

Two years ago, Sarona sprang to life and the area has become Tel Aviv's newest entertainment and shopping attraction, with dozens of restaurants. Last year, Sarona opened for business and instantly became Israel's biggest and most popular indoor market.

Directly outside the market are two of Sarona's most popular restaurants, "Max Brenner" (a branch of a chain known for its chocolate desserts) and "Benedict" (known for their all-day breakfasts).

As I have often told friends, when you walk into Sarona Market you feel as if you are no longer in Israel. But tonight it became very clear: the Sarona is very much a part of Israel.

Police say there was no warning of the attack. Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai called on Tel Aviv residents to wake up tomorrow and "return to our normal lives."

Marc Schulman is a multimedia historian.