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IANS

Israeli security forces conducted a massive search in downtown Tel Aviv on Thursday night after a gunman killed two people and wounded several others in a shooting spree.

The suspect opened fire into a crowded bar on the Dizengof street, where many cafes and bars are located, Tel Aviv Police Commander Amichai Eshed said in a briefing to journalists, Xinhua news agency reported.

Eshed said there were "indications" that the shooting was "a terror attack."

The gunman fled the scene and had not been apprehended, Eshed said, adding that thousands of security forces, including troops, border police and Shin Bet internal security agents, were searching the area.

Broadcasts of state-owned Kan TV showed that massive forces were patrolling central Tel Aviv and searching inside residential buildings and backyards.

Baruch Honig, a spokesman for the police commissioner, issued a description of the suspect based on CCTV footage, saying "he wore a black T-shirt, black shorts and had a blue backpack." No photo of the suspect has been released.

"Dead or alive, we will find him," Honig said.

The police initially said that there were possibly two people carrying out the attack, but later ruled that out, said Eshed.
Ronni Gamzu, director-general of the Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, confirmed in a briefing that two people died in the hospital after being seriously wounded in the attack.

At least eight others were injured, four of whom were in serious condition, Gamzu said.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held a security consultation and was "updated on developments in the field," his office said in a statement.

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, on Thursday night said that the shooting attack "is a natural response to the ongoing Israeli violations against the Palestinian people."

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, said that "the endless Israeli violations against the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and the daily killing of Palestinians in the West Bank will be confronted by blood and bullets."

The shooting was the fourth deadly attack in Israel in the span of fewer than three weeks, during which a total of 13 people were killed in the country.

 

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