BAccording to paramedics, an Italian was killed and seven other tourists injured in a suspected attack in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv on Friday evening. According to the police, the assassin rammed a group of people with his car near the beach promenade. The vehicle overturned. A police officer noticed that the driver was trying to pull out a gun. Then he shot him.
The police spoke of a “terrorist attack on civilians” in which a vehicle was used as a battering ram. “The terrorist has been neutralized,” said a police spokesman.
The news site ynet reported that the perpetrator was an Israeli Arab. Ambulance sirens could be heard in the city center after the incident. The Italian Foreign Ministry wrote on Twitter: “Horror and deep dismay at the cowardly attack in Tel Aviv.” Three of the injured, including a 17-year-old girl, suffered moderate injuries.
Israel reacts promptly
After the assassination, the Israeli government announced on Friday evening that it would mobilize additional police units and soldiers. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed Israeli police to mobilize all border police reserve units, the Prime Minister’s office said. He instructed the army to “mobilize additional forces to counter the terrorist attacks,” it said.
The situation in the Middle East has deteriorated massively in the midst of the Jewish Passover holiday and the Muslim month of fasting. The escalation follows clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque in mid-week. After rocket fire from Lebanon, Israel attacked targets in the neighboring country and in the Gaza Strip on Friday night.
Just last month, one man was killed and two others injured in an attack by a Palestinian in downtown Tel Aviv. Two Israeli sisters were killed and their mother critically injured in an attack in the West Bank on Friday morning.