Tel Aviv police say they've caught two Palestinian gunmen who killed four Israelis at a restaurant at the city's trendy Sarona Market. The attack is the deadliest in eight months of violence in the region.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described Wednesday evening's attack as "cold blooded murder."
"We held a consultation about the series of offensive and defensive measures that we will implement to act against the grave phenomenon of shootings. They certainly challenge us, but we will provide an answer," Netanyahu told reporters.
A threat by Hamas, the group ruling Gaza, of more attacks during Ramadan was condemned by a United Nations official.
Tel Aviv district police commander Moshe Edri said one of the two detained "terrorists" had a gunfire wound.
The four slain Israelis arrived at Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital in critical condition and later died.
The nationalities of the five other persons wounded were not disclosed.
The gunmen were reportedly members of the same family in the Palestinian village of Yatta, near Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Hamas did not claim responsibility for what it called a "heroic operation," but warned Israelis they could expect more "surprises."
UN special coordinator for Middle East peace efforts, Nickolay Mladenov, said he was "shocked" to learn that Hamas had praised the terror attack.
"Leaders must stand against violence and the incitement that fuels it, not condone it," he said.
Shots fired at diners
Israeli television aired close-circuit video footage showing two men in suits shooting at diners at 9.30 p.m., local time, at Tel Aviv's Sarona complex, located near Israel's defense ministry and main army headquarters.
A woman, who gave her name only as Annette, told Israel's Channel 10 that she and other family members were eating pizza when they heard shots.
"We didn't know what was happening, and everybody got down on the floor. We managed to escape to a cellar," she said.
Sarona director Shlomi Hajaj said security guards, who fired back at the gunmen, had prevented the attackers from carrying out an even "bigger disaster" amongst crowds packing the evening market area.
Since last October, violence across Israel and Palestinian areas has resulted in the deaths of at least 207 Palestinians, 28 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese.
Most were Palestinians killed while carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, according to Israeli authorities.
Others were killed in clashes or by Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip.
One attack in March occurred as US Vice President Joe Biden was visiting Tel Aviv. A Palestinian stabbed an American tourist and wounded 12 other people.
Last week in Paris, representatives of 28 nations, the Arab League, European Union and United Nations met to discuss ways of restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.
A US-led initiative broke down in April 2014.
Israel opposes the new French initiative, calling instead for direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
ipj/bw (AFP, Reuters, AP)