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Major manhunt underway for Tel Aviv gunman

Police in downtown Tel Aviv have begun a door-to-door manhunt for a suspect involved in a shooting that left two people dead. The massive manhunt is underway for an Arab man in his late twenties from northern Israel.

A massive manhunt is underway for an Israeli Arab who fired into a busy bar in central Tel Aviv on Friday. The attack left two people dead and at least six wounded.

A police spokeswoman said large police forces were deployed at the scene of the shooting, and have begun searching apartments and closing off areas of the city.

Authorities have also seized security footage of the attack.

Suspect identified

The suspect was identified after his father recognized his son in security footage and discovered that the weapon he used for his security job was missing.

Police identified the gunman as a 29-year-old Israeli citizen from the north of the country, but said no details related to the shootings would be made public while the investigation was underway.

Residents of the village of Arara in northern Israel also recognized the shooter and told the media he was from their village. They condemned the shooting and said he should turn himself in.

Unclear motive

Nati Shakked, owner of the Simta bar where the shooting took place, said the assailant sat waiting on a bench outside the premises before removing a machine gun from a bag and "shooting in every direction."

Witnesses told the "Times of Israel" newspaper that about 10 shots were fired.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said the motive for the attack was unclear, but authorities were assuming it was a terrorist attack, a sentiment shared by Shakked.

"It was a terrorist attack, without a doubt," he told Israel's Channel Two TV station.

Tel Aviv, Israel's commercial capital, has seen an increase in Palestinian street attacks since October, fueled in part by Muslim anger over increased Jewish visits to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque, which is also sacred to Jews, as well as long-stalled peace talks.

More than 20 Israelis and 140 Palestinians have died in the past three months as a result of the increased violence.

smm/bk (dpa, AFP, AP)