New Year's Day Shooting In Tel Aviv Kills At Least 2

There is a “growing consensus among security officials" that the shooting was a terror attack, a report says.

02/01/2016 2:00 AM AEDT | Updated 03/01/2016 10:58 AM AEDT
Megan Robertson/The Huffington Post
A gunman opened fire on Hasimta bar in Tel Aviv on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.

TEL AVIV -- A gunman opened fire on a bar in central Tel Aviv on Friday, killing at least two people and wounding seven others. 

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that the shooter fled the scene. Authorities apprehended a suspect on a nearby street shortly after the shooting, but are continuing a manhunt.

Haaretz says that Israeli police have identified the suspect as a 29-year-old Palestinian citizen of Israel from the Northern Israeli town of Arara. He stole the gun used in the shooting from his father, who works in security. The suspect’s father contacted authorities after noticing the weapon was missing.

There is a “growing consensus among security officials,” according to Haaretz, that the shooting, which took place on Dizengoff Street, a café-filled main street, was a terror attack.

Nati Shakked, owner of Simta bar, which was attacked, told Reuters that the assailant had waited on a bench outside before taking a machine gun out of a bag and "shooting in every direction."

A video captured the graphic moment the attacker opened fire. 

Lily, an owner of a nearby beauty salon who was in the bar at the time, told HuffPost that when she realized it was a shooting, she dropped to the ground and hid under the bar.

Another woman who was in the bar told reporters of Israel's Channel 2 that she and seven others hid in a storage closet in the basement of a bar during the attack, "lying down" on the door to keep it from being penetrated.

"Our whole body was shaking," she said. "There were very big booms, tremblings -- it all happened above us. Mostly it was gunshots."

The attack comes amid a period of heightened violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Palestinians have killed 19 Israelis and an American since the start of October, mostly in spontaneous stabbings or car-ramming attacks. Israeli security forces have killed 142 Palestinians over the same period, according to the Palestinian health ministry -- a figure that includes suspected Palestinian assailants shot dead and Palestinians killed in clashes with Israeli troops.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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