Pair of gunmen kill two people in Israel on the eve of diplomatic summit

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Two Arab gunmen killed two people in Israel on Sunday and were then shot dead, Israeli security officials said, as the U.S. secretary of state and three Arab foreign ministers visited the country for a summit.

The officials said the two assailants in Hadera, a city about 50 km (30 miles) north of Tel Aviv, were Arab citizens of Israel. Israeli media reports said they were Islamic State sympathizers.

“We condemn today’s terrorist attack in Hadera, Israel,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote on Twitter. “Such senseless acts of violence and murder have no place in society. We stand with our Israeli partners and send our condolences to the families of the victims.”

A view of the weaponry that was found in a car at the site where two people were killed by gunmen in Hadera. According to a police spokesperson, two attackers were shot dead after opening fire in the coastal town of Hadera, killing two policemen and injuring at least three other people.

Ilia Yefimovich/dpa (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/picture alliance via Getty Images

The attack occurred five days after an Arab from southern Israel killed at least four Israelis in a stabbing and car ramming spree in the city of Beersheba, before he was fatally shot by a passerby.

Surveillance camera footage broadcast on Israeli television stations showed two men opening fire with assault rifles on a main street in Hadera, raising fears in Israel of a wave of such attacks.

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Two people were killed by the assailants, police and emergency services said. Police said the two gunmen were shot dead by policemen who had been dining at a nearby restaurant.

“Luckily, our officers managed to neutralize the assailants and prevent a bigger terrorist attack,” national police spokesman Eli Levy said on Israel’s Kan television.

In Israel’s southern Negev desert, the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, three countries that normalized relations with Israel in 2020, convened for a summit with Blinken in attendance.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid “updated the foreign ministers participating in the Negev Summit on the details of the terror attack in Hadera,” the Israeli foreign ministry tweeted.

“All the foreign ministers condemned the attack, and asked to send their condolences to the families of the victims & wishes for the recovery of the wounded,” the ministry said.

Israeli security officials have cautioned about an escalation in attacks on Israelis in the run-up to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in April – a volatile period in the past.

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(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller; Additional reporting by Costas Pitas and Michael Martina; Editing by William Maclean, Jane Merriman and Cynthia Osterman)

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