Two gunmen opened fire at an upscale Tel Aviv shopping mall a block away from Israel’s military headquarters Wednesday evening, killing at least four people, authorities said.
Police said the shooting was a terrorist attack and described the suspects as Palestinian cousins from an area near the West Bank city of Hebron.
The violence rattled Israelis who had begun to return to a sense of normality after a decrease in the wave of stabbings by Palestinians in the West Bank and in Israeli cities that began in September.
“It was a disturbing scene as we know all too well,’’ said Yisrael Korvitz, a paramedic who said he treated a woman with critical gunshot wounds to the shoulder and leg while two other victims lay not far away.
The shooting occurred at Max Brenner, a chocolates restaurant located in the Sarona Market shopping complex and luxury apartment tower. Police said that they arrested one of the shooters and that a second attacker was hospitalized after being shot. Some witnesses said the gunmen had been at the restaurant before the attack started.
“Two young men came, in two suits, like businessmen or lawyers. I took their order,’’ said Yousef Jabaren, a barman who worked at the restaurant. “Then, after a couple of minutes, the shooting started.’’
Though police said they believed that there were no more attackers, two hours after the shooting police helicopters with searchlights continued to circle overhead, and law enforcement announced they would deploy added personnel around the city on Thursday.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said it was a difficult night for the city.
“But we will continue...,” he said. “Terrorism won’t defeat us.”
Over the last eight months, Palestinian attacks, mostly stabbings, have killed 31 Israelis and two Americans, the Associated Press reported. About 200 Palestinians reportedly have been killed during that time, most identified as attackers by Israel.
Mitnick is a special correspondent.
3:26 p.m.: This article has been updated throughout with Times reporting.
1:30 p.m.: This article has been updated with a report that the gunmen were detained and with more details about the attack.
12:43 p.m.: This article has been updated with reports that three people were killed in the attack.
This article was originally published at 12:29 p.m.