Israeli security forces hunted down and killed a Palestinian man who had opened fire into a crowded bar in central Tel Aviv, killing two and wounding over 10 in an attack that caused scenes of mass panic in the heart of the bustling city.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians attended the first Friday prayers of the Muslim holy month in Jerusalem amid a heavy Israeli security presence, with no immediate reports of unrest.
It was the fourth deadly attack in Israel by Palestinians in three weeks, and came at a time of heightened tensions around the start of Ramadan.
Seeking to avoid a repeat of last year’s war, Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian leaders have held a number of meetings in recent weeks to discuss ways to maintain calm.
Israel has taken a number of steps aimed at calming tensions, including issuing thousands of work permits for Palestinians from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
But the attacks have set off growing calls in Israel for a tougher crackdown.
Israel allowed women, children and men over 40 from the occupied West Bank to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in east Jerusalem on Friday.
The Muslim body that oversees the site said 80,000 people attended prayers.
“We expected on the first Friday that the number would reach 110,000 or 120,000 worshippers, but the checkpoints prevented the number from reaching the expected number,” said Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, a Waqf official.
Police mobilized thousands of forces in and around the Old City, home to Al-Aqsa and other holy sites sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam and sits on a hilltop that is the most sacred site for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount.
The holy site has long been a flashpoint for Israeli-Palestinian violence.