Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday vowed a “decisive” response to Wednesday’s deadly terror attack in Tel Aviv, and said Israel’s security services would track down anybody who may have aided the shooters.
Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan visited the Sarona Market in central Tel Aviv, site of Wednesday night’s shooting attack, following an emergency briefing at IDF headquarters.
Netanyahu landed in Israel from an official visit to Moscow shortly after the attack.
“This was a difficult event, a cold-blooded murder by criminal terrorists,” the prime minister said in a statement. “I want first of all to send condolences to the families whose worlds were decimated at this moment, and of course wishes for the swift healing of the wounded.”
“We discussed a series of offensive and defensive steps that we will take in order to act against this serious phenomenon of shootings. This is a challenge, and we shall meet it,” he said without elaborating.
“We’re in the middle of a complex period. We will act decisively and intelligently,” he said, vowing “determined action by the police, IDF and security agencies to locate all collaborators who took part in this murder, and to prevent future attacks.”
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) June 8, 2016
“We will take the necessary steps to attack the attackers and defend those who need to be defended,” he told reporters in English.
As he spoke, IDF troops surrounded the West Bank village of Yatta, south of Hebron, the home of the two suspected terrorists.
Liberman said in a statement that Israel “doesn’t intend to put up with the situation. I don’t think this is the time to issue pronouncements, but everything necessary we will do and we will do in a severe manner.”
“We won’t accept this situation, they cannot escape responsibility,” he said.
Although Hamas and Fatah both praised the shooting, there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack that left four Israelis dead and at least 18 others injured. One suspected terrorist was shot and seriously injured by a security guard and the second was apprehended by police.
Erdan said the upcoming Jewish holiday of Shavuot, which takes place Sunday, and the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, which began earlier this week, makes for “a sensitive time.”
“We will increase the police presence anywhere it is required in order to create a sense of security,” he said at the scene of the attack, according to Army Radio.
Israeli politicians issued an outpouring of condolences on social media. Opposition Leader MK Isaac Herzog called the attack “a terrible tragedy for Tel Aviv.”
“People of Israel, we will continue to be strong. Terrorism never defeated us and will never defeat us. I wish recovery to the injured and send my condolences to the families of the murdered,” he said in a Facebook post.
While senior Israeli officials didn’t immediately assign blame for the attack, Zionist Union MK Ksenia Svetlova said on Twitter that “the terrorists in #telaviv attack apparently came from Hebron/Yatta area, like many others before them. Most chances HAMAS is involved.”