Israeli security forces patrol Jerusalem s Mahane Yehuda market on April 8, 2022. AFP
It was the fourth deadly attack in Israel by Palestinians in three weeks, and came at a time of heightened tensions around the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank were set to enter Jerusalem for the first Friday prayers of Ramadan at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with top security officials and announced that a major crossing in the northern West Bank near the attacker's hometown would be closed indefinitely.
"Every murderer will know that we'll get to him, and anyone who helps terrorists should know that the price he will pay will be unbearable,'' Bennett said in a statement.
Israel proceeded with plans to allow Palestinian women, children, and older men to enter Jerusalem for prayers. Protests and clashes in the holy city during Ramadan last year eventually ignited an 11-day Gaza war.
Thursday's shooting took place in a crowded bar on Dizengoff Street, a central thoroughfare that has seen other attacks over the years. Thursday night is the beginning of the Israeli weekend, and the area was packed with people in bars and restaurants.
Early Friday, authorities said they found the attacker hiding near a mosque in Jaffa, an Arab neighborhood in southern Tel Aviv, and killed him in a shootout.
The Shin Bet internal security service identified the attacker as Raad Hazem, a 28-year-old Palestinian man from Jenin, in the occupied West Bank. It said he did not belong to an organized militant group and had no prior record. It said he had entered Israel illegally without a permit.
The Jenin refugee camp was the scene of one of the deadliest battles of the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, 20 years ago. In April 2002, Israeli occupation forces fought Palestinian militants in the camp for nearly three weeks. Twenty-three Israeli soldiers and at least 52 Palestinians, including civilians, were killed, according to the United Nations.
The Israeli military frequently conducts arrest raids in Jenin, often coming under fire. The Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the occupied West Bank and coordinates with Israel on security matters, appears to have little control over the area.
After Thursday's attack, 13 Israelis have been killed in recent weeks, making this one of the worst waves of violence in years.
The militant Hamas group that rules the Gaza Strip praised the attack but did not claim responsibility. President Mahmoud Abbas, who heads the PA, condemned the attack, saying the killing of civilians on either side ``can only lead to a further deterioration of the situation.``
All of the attackers appear to have acted individually or with minimal support from a small cell. Three of them are believed to have identified with the extremist group Islamic State. But militant groups do not appear to have trained them or organized the attacks.
*This story was edited by Ahram Online.