A Palestinian slashed his way down a crowded street with a makeshift sword Tuesday, killing two Israelis and wounding about 20, many of them students going to a holiday party. A passing policeman killed him.
The students at first stood by and watched, apparently thinking the assailant was part of a stunt for Tuesday's Jewish holiday of Purim, during which children dress up in costumes.
Palestinian reporters identified the man as Azri Saleh Reifi, 22, from the Gaza Strip. They said he may have been trying to avenge the death of his father, who relatives say died in Israeli detention in 1989 from complications of diabetes.
It was the first fatal stabbing in Israel by an Arab since Feb. 21, when a Soviet immigrant was killed by a Palestinian in Kfar Sabah, north of Tel Aviv.
Police Commissioner Yaakov Turner said Tuesday's attacker carried a leaflet from the Muslim fundamentalist group Hamas. The leaflet calls for attacks on Jews. The group, which opposes the U.S.-sponsored Middle East peace talks, has been a leader in the Palestinian uprising against Israeli rule in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Another Muslim fundamentalist group, Islamic Jihad, later claimed responsibility for the attack in leaflets distributed in the Gaza Strip.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir said Israel will do everything in its power to "make sure that this horror will stop," referring to a series of attacks on Israelis since the peace talks began Oct. 30. He said Israel will press on with the negotiations.
The street attack began about 9:15 a.m. in Jaffa, a mixed Jewish-Arab section of Tel Aviv.
Witnesses said the attacker killed a young woman and a garage owner who tried to protect her.