TEL AVIV: Israeli paramedics say at least five people were killed on Tuesday in a shooting in the central city of Bnei Brak, east of Tel Aviv.

The circumstance of the incident were not immediately clear. The shooting took place two days after a shooting in the city of Hadera that left two police officers dead, and a week after a stabbing in the southern city of Beersheba in which four people were killed.

The attacks have raised concerns that there could be further violence.

Police said Tuesday’s shooting took place at two locations, apparently by a gunman riding a motorcycle.

The militant Islamic State group claimed responsibility for both attacks in the past week, in which the assailants were killed.

Israeli security services raided the homes of at least 12 Arab citizens and arrested two suspected of having ties to the militant Islamic State group in a crackdown sparked by recent deadly attacks, authorities said on Tuesday.

Hours before the raid, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the recent assaults inside Israel, which killed six people, marked a new situation that required stepped-up security measures.

Law enforcement officials said 31 homes and sites were searched overnight in northern Israel, an area that was home to the gunmen who killed two police officers and wounded four more people in the city of Hadera over the weekend.

The militant Islamic State group claimed Sunday’s attack, as well as a stabbing rampage in southern Israel last Tuesday in which four people were killed. Police shot and killed the two gunmen, and the stabber was shot and killed by a passerby, police said.

Israeli leaders condemned the killings and pointed to the timing. Both attacks came ahead of Ramazan and Sunday’s killings came on the eve of a high-profile meeting between the foreign ministers of four Arab nations and the United States in the Israeli Negev. All four Arab nations Egypt, Morocco, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates along with the United States, condemned the killings.

Hamas praised the shooting as a heroic operation. Attacks by IS inside Israel are rare.

The group operates mainly in Iraq and Syria, where it has recently stepped up attacks against security forces. It no longer controls any territory but operates through sleeper cells. IS has claimed attacks against Israeli troops in the past and has branches in Afghanistan and other countries.

Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2022

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