Middle East

Tel Aviv shooting: Netanyahu warns Israeli Arabs

An Israeli man stops to light a candle at a memorial in the entrance of the cafe in Tel Aviv, Israel, 02 January 2016 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Candles have been lit at the bar to commemorate those who were killed

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said security will be tightened in Israeli Arab areas after a gunman killed two people in Tel Aviv.

Visiting the scene of the attack on Saturday Mr Netanyahu demanded "loyalty to the state's laws from everyone".

Police have named a 29-year-old Israeli Arab as the suspect. No motive has been established for the shooting.

Seven people were also wounded, four of them seriously, in Friday's attack outside a popular Tel Aviv bar.

Security forces are on "heightened alert" and are searching for the gunman who is still at large, police said on Saturday.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Netanyahu: "This was the site of a despicable murder"

Visiting the bar in Dizengoff Street, Mr Netanyahu praised Israeli Arab leaders for condemning the killings - but said Israel was in danger of becoming "a state of law for most citizens, and a state within a state with Islamist incitement and illegal arms that are often used in weddings, celebrations and criminal incidents", the Jerusalem Post reports.

He said his government would "bolster law enforcement efforts in the Negev, the Galilee, the Triangle, everywhere". This would include building new police stations and recruiting more police officers.

Media captionCCTV cameras captured the moment the shooting began

Friday's attack took place in a busy part of Tel Aviv city centre filled with bars and cafes.

Security camera footage showed the gunman taking an automatic rifle out of his backpack and then firing at least 15 shots at people in the street before fleeing the scene.

The two victims have been identified as Alon Bakal, 26, who was a manager at the bar targeted, and Shimon Ruimi, 30.

The suspect, from northern Israel, had stolen the gun from his father, who works in security, Haaretz newspaper reported.

The father recognised his son from media reports and contacted the police, the newspaper said.  

He has been named as Nashat Milhem.

Friday's shootings follow a wave of Palestinian attacks against Israelis over the past few months.

As of 23 December, at least 21 Israelis had been killed in the recent violence, most of them in stabbings and shooting attacks by Palestinians.

At least 131 Palestinians have also been killed. More than half were said by Israel to be attackers. Others have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Security forces have been carrying out searches in the city

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