TEL AVIV • The Israeli military yesterday said it would send hundreds more troops to the occupied West Bank, and revoked permits for 83,000 Palestinians to visit Israel after a Palestinian shooting attack that killed four Israelis in Tel Aviv.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the assault by the two gunmen on Wednesday in a trendy shopping and dining market near Israel's Defence Ministry, but Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups were quick to praise it.
Surveillance footage said to be from the attack shows two men dressed in black suits and ties - seeming to carry briefcases - calmly entering the Max Brenner cafe at Tel Aviv's Sarona Market, a popular nightspot.
Some witnesses said they first sat down and placed an order before standing and opening fire with handguns. The video shows patrons fleeing in panic, with some trying to fight back. One man is shot at point-blank range.
At one point, one of the attackers throws his gun to the ground in frustration as two victims lie motionless on the terrace.
S'pore condemns Tel Aviv shooting
Singapore condemns the shooting attack in Tel Aviv on Wednesday that killed four people, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said yesterday.
"We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims, and wish those injured a speedy recovery," an MFA spokesman said in a press statement. The statement said there were no reports of any Singaporeans affected by the incident.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has contacted most of the registered Singaporeans in Tel Aviv and verified that they are safe. The Singapore Consulate-General in Tel Aviv is also in touch with the Israeli authorities," it said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has advised Singaporeans in Israel to exercise vigilance and follow the instructions of the Israeli authorities.
In case any Singaporeans are in need of consular assistance, they can contact the Singapore Consulate-General in Tel Aviv by telephone (+9723 6476159/5475109) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Alternatively, they may get in touch with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Duty Office on the 24-hour hotline (+65 6379 8800/8855) or by sending an e-mail (mfa_duty_officer@ mfa.gov.sg).
The two attackers then flee. The two Palestinians were arrested shortly afterwards, one of them badly injured from gunshots.
The four people killed were all Israelis, identified as Ido Ben Aryeh, 42; Ilana Nave, 39; Michael Feige, 58; and Mila Mishayev, 32. Five other people were wounded. It was the deadliest Palestinian attack against Israelis since a wave of violence began in October.
The two attackers were identified as Khaled Mohammad Makhamrah, 22, and his cousin Mohamad Ahmad Makhamrah, 21, both from the town of Yatta near the flashpoint city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank.
It is not clear yet if they acted alone or as part of a larger plot.
Israel's military locked down Yatta overnight, searching houses and cars. Entrances into and out of the city were blocked.
Officials said they were suspending entry permits for 83,000 Palestinians during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, which began on Sunday night, in a move that was likely to further stoke tensions.
Thousands of Palestinians visit family as well as Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third-holiest site in Islam, during Ramadan.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the scene after what he called the "cold-blooded terrorist murder" and spoke of a "range of offensive and defensive steps". A security Cabinet meeting was held yesterday .
Israelis and Palestinians will be closely watching the reaction of Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, a hardliner sworn in on May 30 and who has in the past spoken of harsh actions against Palestinian "terrorists".
During the current wave of violence, Israel's military has spoken of preferring a measured response to attacks to avoid provoking wider unrest. The United States, European Union and UN envoy for the Middle East peace process have all condemned the latest attack.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE