The shift supervisor at a bar targeted in the deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv on Friday afternoon recounted the scenes of fear and confusion as the gunfire erupted.
“We were sitting outside and to our surprise we suddenly started hearing five or six gunshots in close succession. Everyone who was on the street started to run like mad,” the shift supervisor at Rafinta, identified only as Hadar, told the Maariv website.
“We ran into the kitchen with the customers. We waited until the gunfire abated. One of the waiters told us that the gunfire had been directed into the bar,” she said.
An eyewitness who was also in the bar said the gunman “appeared in the doorway, smiling, and opened fire.” She said she would “never forget that smile on his face.”
She described the gunman as shorter than average height, wearing black, brandishing a machine-gun, and wearing black-rimmed spectacles. She said he fired “salvoes” of gunfire, indiscriminately.
Footage from the scene showed the gunman firing — indicating that he fired single shots and automatic fire, and that he could have killed more people had he chosen to. Police sources Friday afternoon said it was not immediately clear whether the motivation for the attack was terrorism, criminal, or something else.
Nati Shaked, one of the co-owners of the bar, told Army Radio he saw “someone armed with an automatic rifle just walking in the street. He saw a lot of people here who he could shoot at, and started to shoot.”
The attacker “shot everywhere. There was hysteria and chaos.”
Eyewitnesses said the gunman fired into at least three establishments in the area — the bar, a restaurant and a cafe, and then fled. One of the cafe staffers said several people chased after him “but he disappeared” into a side-street.
A bus driver, Yossi, said the gunman also fired at him, and that he opened the doors of his bus, to let passengers flee, and ducked down himself.
More than an hour after the shootings, police and security forces were still reported to be searching for the gunman.
At least two people were killed and six wounded in the attack, which began at the bar on the corner of Gordon and Dizengoff streets in the city center shortly before 3 p.m.
The shots were fired inside a bar at Dizengoff 122, near Tel Aviv’s well-known Dizengoff Center Mall. The area was crowded on Friday afternoon. The gunman then moved on along the street.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai called on residents “to be alert,” saying “this looks like nationalist [terror], but it still isn’t clear” what the motive was.
Terrorism “attempts to frighten us and disrupt our lives. I urge everyone to take a deep breath, relax and we will take care of this.”