(Photo credit: Reuters)
Five Israeli settlers were wounded, two critically, in a Palestinian shooting operation on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv on the evening of 9 March, which was carried out as a response to Israel’s assassination of three resistance leaders near Jenin that day.
Footage of the heroic shooting operation in occupied Yaffa (Tel Aviv) https://t.co/Oyp4OLOqQW pic.twitter.com/3gGb6lPr3N
— Ali (@resist4ever_) March 9, 2023
The shooting was carried out by 23-year-old Palestinian Moataz Salah al-Khawaja, who was killed in a shootout with Israeli police and armed citizens shortly after. Camera footage shows Moataz approaching a number of Israelis and opening fire, triggering a state of panic.
UPDATE: Shooting attack in Tel Aviv confirmed to be a terror attack
1 terrorist neutralized
3 people injured, 1 of them critically pic.twitter.com/NwxhSMeEhM
— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) March 9, 2023
In a statement, the Hamas resistance movement claimed responsibility for the shooting. Khawaja was a member of the group’s military wing, the Ezzeddine al-Qassam brigades.
“The Martyr of Al-Qassam has bled … and we praise his heroic operation … The Tel Aviv operation came in response to the occupation’s crimes this morning in the towns of Jaba and Jenin, and we promise more painful strikes,” the Hamas statement read.
The wounded settlers were transferred to Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital. In an initial statement by Israeli police, three were said to be wounded. However, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth quoted the director of Ichilov Hospital’s operating room said five were injured, two of which were in serious condition. This was confirmed by other Israeli outlets, including Channel 12 and Kan radio.
Israeli police said in a statement that they were conducting extensive searches in Tel Aviv in an attempt to “find people who provided assistance to the perpetrator of the operation.”
Israel’s Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, has reportedly ordered security forces to immediately demolish Khawaja’s home. Khawaja is from the occupied West Bank town of Nilin, in Ramallah.
His father, Salah al-Khawaja, who is also said to be a Hamas member, was quoted by AFP as saying that he learned through social media that his son had carried out the attack.
“This is a natural response from young men who see injustice every day by the occupation,” he said, adding that his son was the manager of a household appliances store in his hometown of Nilin.
The shooting was a response to Israel’s killing of three resistance leaders belonging to the Jenin Brigade of the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) resistance movement in the town of Jaba in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin. An undercover Israeli special forces unit infiltrated the town on 9 March, killing the three men and triggering an armed confrontation with resistance fighters. The killings also coincided with other Israeli raids in the West Bank.
Just two days earlier, on 7 March, Israeli troops carried out a deadly raid in the Jenin refugee camp, killing several, including members of the resistance.
The last Palestinian shooting operation in Tel Aviv took place in April 2022 and resulted in the killing of two Israelis. The city of Tel Aviv is known to be under extremely tight security measures.
“This blessed operation sends a message of defiance and pride, and that our people are on the path of their freedom, and our resistance is present for revenge and terror in the occupation entity and the destruction of its security system … We commend the masses of our people who have embodied the meanings of sacrifice and redemption on the road to Jerusalem,” the PIJ said in a statement.