Two Palestinians were wanted by Israeli security forces for a stabbing spree near Tel Aviv, which left three Israelis dead.
This latest attack, which took place on Israel's Independence Day (Thursday), was just one of a number of violent attacks that have been taking place in the country over the past few weeks. The attack came at a time when tensions between Israel and Palestine were already high due to violence at a Jerusalem holy site that is sacred to both Jews and Muslims.
Police stated that they were looking for two suspects aged 19 and 20, from Jenin, occupied West Bank. Jenin has been resurrected as a militant bastion during the latest wave violence, the worst Israel has ever seen in years. Many attackers are from Jenin and Israeli forces have launched raids to arrest them. This has sparked gunbattles.
After huddling late Thursday with security officials, Naftali Bennett, Israeli Prime Minister, said that "we will get our hands onto the terrorists and the supportive environment" and would pay the price. According to authorities, the attackers fled in an automobile.
The scene was described by medics in Elad (an ultra-Orthodox community near Tel Aviv). Four others were also injured, one critically, in addition to the three victims.
Israeli media identified the victims as Yonatan Hvakuk and Boaz Gol, who were fathers in their 30s to 40s. They are both survived by 16 children. Funerals will take place on Friday.
Ben Yiftah (35 years old, father of six) was originally from Lod. Yair Revivo (the city's mayor) wrote that his heart broke into small pieces and called it a "great tragic event" in a post on Facebook.
Israel celebrated its Independence Day Thursday. This is a holiday that people usually celebrate with barbecues and air shows.
The West Bank closure, which was imposed before the holiday to stop Palestinians entering Israel, was extended by Defense Minister Benny Gantz until Sunday.
Washington Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned "horrific attack on innocent men and women"
The attack was also condemned by Mahmoud Abbas (Palestinian President). His government manages autonomous areas in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. It also cooperates with Israel on security.
According to the Wafa news agency, he stated that "the killing of Palestinian civilians and Israeli civilians only leads to more deterioration at an time when all of our attempts to achieve stability and prevent escalated."
Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza Strip, has praised the attack and linked the incident to violence at Jerusalem's holy site.
Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem stated that "the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque cannot be ignored." "The heroic operation in Tel Aviv was a practical manifestation of what the resistance had warned about."
Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which is third holiest in Islam, is located on the hilltop that is also the holiest for Jews. They refer to it as Temple Mount. It is the emotional center of the conflict. In recent weeks, Israeli and Palestinian police have repeatedly clashed there.
The status quo allows Jews to visit the site, but not to pray there, under informal arrangements. They have been visiting the site in increasing numbers over the years with police escorts. Many have also discreetly prayed, which has angered the Palestinians and Jordan, the custodian. The Palestinians fear that Israel will eventually seize the site or divide it.
Israel claims it is committed to the status quo and accuses Hamas for inciting recent violence.
Since March, at least 18 Israelis were killed in five attacks, including another stabbing rampage, two shootings near Tel Aviv, and one last weekend in a West Bank settlement.
Nearly 30 Palestinians were killed in violence, most of them having been involved in attacks on Israeli forces in West Bank. Two unarmed women and two bystanders were also killed. Rights groups claim that Israel uses excessive force.
An 11-day war broke out between Israel and Hamas last year, fuelled in large part in part by unrest in Jerusalem.
In the 1967 Mideast War, Israel captured Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. This includes Al-Aqsa, which is a major religious site sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. All three territories are wanted by the Palestinians to be part of their future state. More than a decade has passed since the last serious peace negotiations collapsed.