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Palestinian factions react to Tel Aviv attack as Israeli army closes off suspects' hometown

June 9, 2016 9:48 A.M. (Updated: June 9, 2016 9:57 P.M.)
Israeli forces inspect the scene of a deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv on June 8, 2016. (Credit: Israeli police)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian political factions reacted on Wednesday night to a shooting attack in Tel Aviv which killed four Israelis and wounded six, as Israeli forces raided the hometown of the suspected assailants in the southern occupied West Bank and closed off the entrances of the town.

Two Palestinians wearing suits reportedly shot at Israeli civilians in the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv, an area adjacent to the Israeli army and Ministry of Defense headquarters.

The suspected attackers were identified by Israeli police as cousins Muhammad Ahmad Moussa Makhamreh and Khalid Muhammad Moussa Makhamreh from the town of Yatta in the West Bank district of Hebron.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri identified the four killed Israelis as Eido Ben Aryeh, 42, from Ramat Gan, Elana Nave, 39, from Tel Aviv, Michael Fayge, 58, from Midreshet Ben-Gurion, and Mila Mishayiv, 58, from Rishon LeZion

Investigations were still ongoing, she said, with one of the suspected shooters still under interrogation, while the other, who was taken to the hospital following his detention on Wednesday night, was reported as being in stable condition.

Al-Samri added that three wounded Israelis were still being treated at the Ichilov hospital and were in stable condition.

Israeli police put a gag order on journalists in Israel regarding the case, forbidding them from revealing details of the investigation until June 16.

The Hamas movement said the Tel Aviv shooting was the first “good omen” for Palestinians and the first “surprise” for the “enemy” during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began on Tuesday.

Hamas spokesman Hussam Badran applauded the shooters, adding that the fact that they were able to enter Israel from the occupied West Bank showed the failure of Israeli efforts aiming to kill the Palestinian resistance and eradicate the Intifada.

The Fatah movement, which is the leading party in the Palestinian Authority, said in a statement that the Tel Aviv shooting was an “individual and natural response” to Israeli state violence.

“Israel must realize the consequences of its persistence to push violence, house demolition policies, forced displacement of Palestinians, raids by Israeli settlers to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, and the cold-blooded killing of Palestinians at checkpoints,” Fatah media committee head Munir al-Jaghoub said.

Al-Jaghoub added that the Israeli refusal to abide by international agreements regarding its illegal settlement policy turned the situation in the in occupied Palestinian territory into a desperate reality far from Palestinians’ hopes and dreams of freedom and independence.

Meanwhile, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said that the shooting represented a “paradigm shift” in the Intifada, which it called a “natural response” to the high number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.

The PFLP said that the site of the shooting, being close to the Israeli Ministry of Defense, sent a strong message of challenge to the newly appointed Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman, and stood as a confirmation that armed resistance was the best way to reclaim Palestinians’ rights.

Following the attack, Israeli forces raided the Makhamrehs’ hometown of Yatta in the early hours on Thursday, detaining an unspecified number of people.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed to Ma’an that a number of detentions had been carried out in the Hebron area overnight, adding that she could not confirm how many due to their being part of an “ongoing investigation.”

She added that, as part of an "ongoing military assessment," entrances to Yatta were closed except for humanitarian and medical cases. She clarified that Yatta had not been declared a closed military zone.

Locals told Ma’an that dozens of soldiers raided the homes of the two suspects, adding that a Palestinian man and his son were detained in the area.

Israeli forces closed all entrances of Yatta, preventing Palestinians from coming in or out of the town.

Israeli forces were escorted by a bulldozer and a drone during the raid.

More than 200 Palestinians and close to 30 Israelis have been killed since the beginning of a wave of unrest in October in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, which has been mainly characterized by small-scale Palestinian attacks against Israeli settlers and military targets.

The last alleged attack in Tel Aviv occurred on May 30, when a Palestinian minor was detained after allegedly carrying out a stab attack with a screwdriver, leaving a 19-year-old Israeli soldier lightly injured.

In January, a shooting attack at a Tel Aviv cafe killed two Israelis and wounded at least seven others. The suspected assailant, a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, was killed a week later by Israeli forces.

Israeli forces inspect the scene of a deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv on June 8, 2016. (Credit: Israeli police)
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