https://www.bbc.com/-Image source, Reuters
Dizengoff Street, where the attack happened, is a place bustling with bars and restaurants
Two people have been killed by at least one gunman in the centre of Tel Aviv, Israel, in the fourth attack of its kind in just over two weeks.
The shootings happened on Dizengoff Street, one of the busiest streets, known for its bars and restaurants.
Security forces are hunting for at least one gunman and police have told people to stay indoors.
It follows a spree of attacks by Israeli Arabs and a Palestinian which left 11 people dead.
A spokesperson for Israel’s emergency services said nine people were brought to hospital after the attack and doctors at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital said medical teams are “fighting for the lives” of four victims.
In a statement issued on Thursday night, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett offered his condolences to the families of those killed and said that Israeli security services “are in pursuit of the terrorist who carried out the murderous rampage tonight in Tel Aviv”.
“Wherever the terrorist is – we will get to him. And everyone who helped him indirectly or directly – will pay a price,” Mr Bennett said.
Over 1,000 members of the Israeli police, army special forces and the Shin Bet intelligence service are involved in the search, police officials have said.
According to the Times of Israel, the attack began when at least one gunman opened fire at Ilka bar on Dizengoff.
“I was heading north and as we were passing by a bar shots started outside the bar,” Mark Malfiev, one of those injured in the attack, told the BBC.
“I saw the window shattering, suddenly people started running and I felt a back pain,” he said. “I did not know there was an injury. I was just walking and then I felt a lot of blood, I saw blood. Then I turned right after a run and a friend looked and saw there was a lot of blood.”
Video from Dizengoff Street shows people running away as emergency vehicles pour into the area, sirens wailing. CCTV footage from an outside bar shows people drinking then suddenly dashing away at the moment of the attack, overturning chairs in the scramble to escape.
As security forces scoured the area, police appealed to people not to venture out.
“Don’t leave your homes. Don’t stick your heads out of the window. Stay off your balconies,” police spokesman Eli Levy said on Channel 13 television.
Israel’s security forces were already on a high state of alert after a deadly spate of attacks in recent days.
At the end of last month, five people were shot dead by a Palestinian gunman in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish suburb of Tel Aviv. Days earlier, six people were killed in two attacks by three Israeli Arabs in the northern city of Hadera and the southern city of Beersheba. All the perpetrators were shot dead.
It marks the deadliest period of attacks in Israel since 2006, with fears of further incidents in the lead-up to the Muslim festival of Ramadan, the Jewish festival of Passover and the Christian festival of Easter which coincide in a rare convergence next week.