Israeli police said the attacker has been “neutralized” after he opened fire near a cafe on Dizengoff Street.
At least three people have been injured in a shooting in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv and are being treated by emergency services, Israel’s ambulance service said, as television footage showed large numbers of police and medical personnel on the scene.
The shooting took place next to a cafe on the corner of Dizengoff Street and Ben Gurion Street, the Magen David Adom (MDA) ambulance service said, according to The Times of Israel.
“We evacuated the three with gunshot wounds, one of them in critical condition, one seriously injured and one slightly injured,” MDA director Eli Bin told Israeli television channel Kan.
Israeli police said the attacker had been “neutralised” but did not provide details about the circumstances of the shooting, which they say could have been “a terrorist attack”.
Police and medics were still on the scene and it was unclear if they were looking for a second attacker.
Shootings in Tel Aviv – a densely populated commercial and cultural capital – are rare. “This will be very worrying for the police,” Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan said from occupied East Jerusalem.
He added that the shooting took place on a busy street full of bars, restaurants and cafes.
“Normally it would be packed, but given the huge amount of protesters that are in Tel Aviv, it would have been busier than usual,” he said, referring to weeks of widespread protests against the government’s plan to overhaul the judiciary .
‘A very serious attack’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to the news during a visit to Italy. “A very serious attack in Tel Aviv, a terrorist attack…sending reparations to the injured,” he said.
“We are strengthening the police and security forces – this will not weaken our determination to take root in our homeland,” he added.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir later said the gunman was killed. “A grave attack in Tel Aviv…I congratulate the police officer who with a courageous act took out the heinous terrorist and saved many lives,” he said in a statement.
In light of the attack, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai called on anti-government protesters to clear the streets so police can secure the area, The Times of Israel reported.
Meetings have been held since early January, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government proposed legislation to limit the Supreme Court’s powers.
If passed, the law will curtail the Supreme Court’s powers to adjudicate against the legislature and the executive, while giving lawmakers decisive powers in appointing judges.
The incident also comes amid heightened tensions in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli settler violence against Palestinians has skyrocketed since Netanyahu returned to power at the helm of a right-wing coalition seeking to expand illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and pursue other anti-Palestinian policies.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expressed concern about Jewish settler violence against Palestinians during a visit to Israel on Thursday.
At a joint press conference with his Israeli counterpart Yoav Galant, Austin said Washington’s commitment to Israel’s security was “iron strong” but warned against actions that could lead to increased insecurity.