Cops set up road blocks in different areas to nab the gunman who killed two in the New Year pub shooting
Tel Aviv: Israeli security forces pressed yesterday a manhunt for the gunman who killed two people and wounded seven others at a Tel Aviv pub, as the motive for the attack remained unclear. The New Year day shooting yesterday afternoon on Tel Aviv’s busy Dizengoff street came amid a wave of Palestinian attacks on Israelis and days after the leader of the Islamic State (IS) group threatened the Jewish state with violence.
Israeli forensic experts work outside a pub following an attack by an unidentified gunman who killed two and left seven others wounded. pic/afp
“Police are continuing to search for a suspect who murdered two Israelis in central Tel Aviv,” said spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, adding that “road blocks were set up in different areas” of the coastal city.
After the attack, hundreds of police scoured the area and searched buildings for suspects as police helicopters buzzed overhead. Media reports identified the shooter as an Arab in his late 20s from northern Israel who had recently been jailed for attacking a soldier, but police refused to confirm.
Rosenfeld said there was a “strong possibility that this was a terrorist attack but we haven’t ruled out criminal motives.”
CCTV footage from a nearby health food store showed a bespectacled young man with a backpack calmly pretending to shop before going to the exit, placing the backpack on a trolley, removing what looks like a submachine gun and opening fire in the street.
Medics said they took nine people to hospitals in Tel Aviv, with police saying two of them had died. One of those killed was identified by his father as Alon Bakal, a law and business student who was a manager at Simta, the pub targeted, with police naming the second as Shimon Ruimi from southern Israel.
Cops tight lipped
Police issued a gag order on the investigation as well as the one into the death of an Arab Israeli taxi driver found shot in north Tel Aviv a short while after the shooting rampage.
They have also refused to say whether the two incidents were linked.
In a recording released a week ago and attributed to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the secretive leader of the IS jihadist group pledged to attack Israel.
Baghdadi said IS has “not forgotten Palestine for a single moment”. “And soon, soon with God’s permission, you will hear the footsteps of the mujahedeen... We are getting closer to you day by day,” he said.