CCTV video shows the shooting outside a Tel Aviv pub that killed two and wounded eight others; meanwhile, workers of local businesses light candles to honor the dead. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) A gunman identified by relatives as a member of Israel's Arab minority was seen on CCTV video footage opening fire on a bustling thoroughfare in central Tel Aviv on Friday (January 1) before fleeing, an incident that ramped up tensions after three months of Palestinian street violence. Two Israelis were killed and eight were wounded in the attack. Other security camera footage showed the assailant, who appeared to be in his mid-to-late 20s and wore protective eyeglasses and a windbreaker, browsing dried fruit at a health food store on Dizengoff Street. He then pulled a machine pistol from his backpack and stepped onto the pavement, shooting wildly. Sami Melhem, an Israeli Arab lawyer, said the shooter was a relative of his, whose father, a police volunteer, had come forward to identify him to authorities after the security footage aired. The 28-year-old suspect's name was withheld from publication under a court gag order. Speaking to Channel 2, Melhem said he had previously represented the suspect in a case where he was jailed for assaulting an Israeli soldier. But Melhem described him as mentally unstable rather than politically militant. Asked if the suspect had radical religious tendencies, Melhem said: "I do not know." With the suspect still at large, police declined to offer a motive in the shooting. Arabs, the majority of them Muslim, make up 20 percent of Israel's population. While they broadly sympathize with the Palestinians, they rarely take up arms against the country or its majority Jews. Israel has seen a wave of Palestinian street attacks since October, fueled in part by Muslim anger over stepped-up Jewish visits to Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque complex, also sacred to Jews, as well as the lack of any progress towards peace with Israel. The violence has been encouraged by Islamist groups that preach Israel's destruction. There was no immediate claim by Palestinian armed factions for Friday's attack. Israel has also been bracing for a possible attack by Islamic State, which has a small but growing following among Israeli Arabs. An Islamic State audio message circulated on social media last week threatened to strike at Israel "soon". Residents and workers of local businesses arrived at the site of the shooting on Friday evening to light candles in honor of the dead.