Prime Minister David Cameron has condemned the attack, stating: “I am sickened by the appalling attack in Tel Aviv. We stand with Israel against terrorism and my thoughts are with the victims and families”.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond called the attack “cowardly”, and added that his “thoughts and condolences are with the victims and their families, no justification for terrorism anywhere”.
Middle East Minister Tobias Ellwood echoed these remarks: “I am appalled by the senseless attack in central Tel Aviv, which has left four dead and several wounded. My thoughts are with the victims and their families”.
He continued: “There can be absolutely no justification for terrorism anywhere. The UK condemns it in the strongest terms. We will continue to strive for peace in this troubled region and urge others to do the same”.
The victims were 42-year-old Ido Ben Ari, an ex-commando and father of two, 39-year-old mother of four Ilana Naveh, 58-year-old Michael Feige, a professor of Israel Studies at Ben Gurion University, and 32-year-old Mila Misheiv, who was engaged to be married.
Three of the 16 injured victims remained in intensive care on Thursday morning at nearby Ichilov Hospital, along with one of the attackers who was shot by a security guard, according to a hospital spokesperson.
The two gunmen were dressed in suits and sat in the Max Brenner restaurant inside the Sarona shopping complex before beginning a shooting spree. They were seen using Carl Gustav-style guns, and according to Israel Radio they also had knives.
The terrorists, confirmed by police as 21-year-old cousins from the Palestinian town of Yatta in the southern West Bank, were caught shortly after the attack.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who visited the site of the shooting on in the early hours of the morning, vowed “decisive action” to track down those responsible for the third deadly attack in Tel Aviv this year.
Hamas praised the attack as “heroic” shortly after it took place, in an official statement on Twitter. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called the injured terrorist a “hero” and said he was praying for his soul.
The terror group said in a statement today that the two gunmen were members of Hamas.
The organisation warned in a statement that there were more attacks to come. It said “the Tel Aviv operation is a natural response to Israeli desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the crimes against the Palestinian people”. It added that the attack was “a message from children of the resistance to leaders of the occupation, especially [Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman]”, who took office last week.
A Hamas media outlet shared a photo of a traditional Palestinian Ramadan treat being stuffed with a bullet with the caption “Tel Aviv operation”.
The spokesperson for Palestinian Islamic Jihad also threatened more attacks, saying that the “Jerusalem Intifada” will not end until “all of Palestine is restored”.
The Fatah party headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas issued a statement on its official Twitter feed saying Israel was “reaping the repercussions of choosing violence against the Palestinian people”.
However, Abbas’s office expressed a general rejection of violence earlier today: “The presidency has repeatedly rejected all operations against civilians from any party, no matter the justification”.
The statement continued: “To achieve a just peace, everyone must refrain from acts that will increase tension and resorting to violence. The realisation of a just peace, and creating a positive climate, that is what will lead to the lowering of tension and violence in the region”.