Five people were killed by a Palestinian terrorist who opened fire on passersby in Bnei Brak on Tuesday night, marking the third deadly terror attack in Israel in eight days.
The gunman was killed by two police officers following a rampage just before 8 p.m. that saw him open fire on people out walking, riding bikes, or driving in their cars in the city east of Tel Aviv. One of the two officers sustained injuries in the incident and later died of his wounds in the hospital.
The attack, the third deadly terror incident in a week, underlined concerns about an escalating wave of violence ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. “Israel is facing a wave of murderous Arab terrorism,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said late Tuesday. “The security forces are at work. We will fight terrorism with persistence, diligence and an iron fist.”
Four of the victims were declared dead at the scene, with the fifth — police officer Amir Khoury, 32 — added to the fatalities after being rushed to the Beilinson Medical Center, officials said.
Bnei Brak resident Yaakov Shalem, a father of five according to reports, was also named as a victim, as was fellow Bnei Brak resident Avishai Yehezkel, 29.
Yehezkel is survived by his wife and a two-year-old son.
Reports said the two other victims were foreign workers who were not immediately named.
Security officials identified the terrorist as Diaa Hamarsheh, 26, a Palestinian from the town of Ya’bad near Jenin in the West Bank who was in Israel illegally. TV reports said there were celebrations outside his family home later Tuesday.
According to police, Hamarsheh arrived in the city in a vehicle, got out, and began opening fire with a large rifle. He killed three people at the first location, before running several hundred meters and killing two more, including the police officer.
A video from the first scene showed a man with a rifle standing in a parking area of a residential building shooting into the street as a young man in ultra-Orthodox garb runs away.
Moments later, the shooter aims at a person riding past the area on a bicycle, but does not shoot him. He then calmly walks into the street, yells in Hebrew for an approaching car to “stay still” before shooting the driver, apparently Shalem, who crashes his vehicle into the building.
Video from there showed him chasing a person on a bicycle near a busy street and trying unsuccessfully to shoot them before running toward a store. He then moved on to the second location.
It was not immediately clear how Hamarsheh entered Israel.
He previously served time in Israeli prison for membership in a terror group and weapons trading.