TEL AVIV, Israel, Two people were killed and at least seven wounded after a man opened fire at a crowded bar in Tel Aviv, according to Israeli police.
The attack was caught on surveillance video, however Israeli police and special forces units were still tracking the gunman hours after it happened, going house to house looking for him, NBC News reported.
Two of the people were reported to be in severe condition and five had less severe injuries, with all seven treated at the scene and taken to the hospital.
“It’s not clear what the background of the incident is, if it’s a terrorist attack or if it’s criminal-related,” Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman, told the BBC.
Although police were cautious to characterize the New Year’s Day attack, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said at a press conference the attack was clearly a terrorist attack, continuing a string of violence across Israel in recent months, including several stabbing attacks.
Reporters asked if the attacked bar catered to gay, lesbian, and transgender people, however the mayor dismissed the question, saying the bar didn’t “have any unique significance for me. It’s a pub on Dizengoff Street. We need to stop being hysterical.”
“What I know is that an individual came here and opened fire,” Huldai said, according to the Jerusalem Post. “This appears to be motivated by nationalism. Tel Aviv has been a target in the past, and here it is rearing its ugly head again.”
Palestinian attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians have happened nearly every day for more than three months. The series of stabbings, shootings, and car-ramming attacks has resulted in the deaths of 21 Israelis and at least 131 Palestinians. Of the Palestinian dead, 90 are reported to have been assailants in attacks and the rest got into skirmishes with Israeli security forces.