TEL AVIV (JTA) — A security guard was killed in a shooting attack by a Palestinian gunman in central Tel Aviv on Saturday afternoon as violence between Israelis and Palestinians has continued to rage.
The terror attack came after a Palestinian man was shot and killed by Israeli settlers in the West Bank on Friday night. Since the beginning of the year, more than two dozen Israelis and more than 100 West Bank Palestinians have been killed in the violence. This year has also seen multiple riots by Israeli West Bank settlers in Palestinian towns.
The U.S. State Department used similar language in statements published nearly simultaneously on Twitter condemning each incident. Regarding the West Bank shooting, the department said, “We strongly condemn yesterday’s terror attack by Israeli extremist settlers that killed a 19-year old Palestinian.”
Regarding the Tel Aviv shooting, the department said, “We strongly condemn today’s terrorist attack in Tel Aviv that killed 1 & wounded 2 others, as well as other recent terrorist attacks against Israelis.” Both statements extended sympathy to the victims’ families.
The Tel Aviv security guard, a city employee who has been identified as Chen Amir, 42, spotted a man acting suspiciously in a busy Tel Aviv commercial area on Saturday and approached him, according to Israeli reports. The man opened fire, wounding Amir, before being shot dead by another guard. Amir died of his wounds shortly afterward.
While many of the terror attacks against Israelis have occurred in the West Bank and Jerusalem, Tel Aviv has seen violence multiple times this year. In July, a Palestinian injured at least seven people in a stabbing attack in the city, and in March, a shooting in a Tel Aviv cafe killed one and injured two. One person was killed after being rammed by a car in April on the city’s boardwalk in what Israeli security forces deemed a terror attack, though the driver’s family has said it was an accident.
The night before the Tel Aviv attack, during a confrontation between Israeli settlers and Palestinians, a settler opened fire and killed Qusai Jamal Matan, 19, and wounded four others.
Israeli police have detained two suspects for the crime of murder driven by racism, including Elisha Yered, a former staffer for the far-right Otzma Yehudit, or Jewish Power, party, which is a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition, according to Haaretz. Israeli Channel 12 reported on Sunday that National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who heads Otzma Yehudit, backed the detainees. “Whoever defends himself from rocks being thrown should get a medal of honor,” he said.