Tel Aviv Terrorist Attack, In the latest act of violence following several days of escalating tensions, an Italian man was killed and five other British and Italian tourists were injured in an attack in the Israeli beachfront city of Tel Aviv. On the eve of the Jewish Sabbath, Israel’s rescue agency reported that the 30-year-old Italian had been shot to death. Simultaneously, Israeli police reported that a car had been driven into a crowd of people near a beach, killing the driver before fleeing the scene. At first, it was unclear if there had been a single occurrence or two.
According to Israeli media, the attacker was an Israeli Arab from the city of Kafr Qasem in the country’s north.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni condemned the “vile attack” and identified the perpetrator as Alessandro Parini, a resident of Rome. The Israeli emergency service reported that a total of five British and Italian visitors, ages 17 to 74, were hospitalized with light to moderate injuries. According to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office, Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the mobilization of police and army reserves following the event. The automobile was shown to have left the road and onto a path before it flipped on its roof and landed on the beach in a viral video. After Israel bombed sites in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon early on Friday in response to rocket fire blamed on Palestinian militants from the two territories, fears arose that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians would escalate, drawing in the powerful Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.
There hasn’t been a significant escalation in hostilities between Israel and Lebanon since their brief conflict in 2006 with an Iran-backed militant group, but Thursday’s assault of around 34 rockets fired at northern Israel was the worst since then. By morning, everything had cooled down around the borders, and it seemed like neither side was willing to risk more confrontations due to the absence of deaths at the frontier standoffs. Despite tensions and an inflow of travelers commemorating the uncommon overlapping holidays of Easter, Passover, and Ramadan, more than 130,000 worshippers attended Friday prayers at Jerusalem’s holiest shrine without significant incident.
But the shooting incident in Tel Aviv, the shooting down of a drone that had infiltrated Israeli territory from Lebanon, and the shooting attack in the West Bank all showed that a larger escalation is still a substantial threat. Israeli forces twice attacked the al-Aqsa mosque compound, also known as the Temple Mount, in occupied East Jerusalem on Wednesday, sparking the current round of clashes. On Thursday, rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, in response to a video showing police hitting Palestinian worshippers with batons and the butts of rifles.
Israel has been conducting major attacks in Syrian territory over the past week, striking at what it thinks to be drone production locations used by Hezbollah, a Shia militia that aids Israel’s arch nemesis Iran in projecting its dominance across the region. Two of the group’s members have been slain, probably more. The radical organization has threatened retaliation, but like Hamas, it is afraid of a further escalation. It’s possible that the bloodshed at al-Aqsa provided an excuse for retribution. Israel said Hamas was responsible for the strike from Lebanon, but many people assume Hezbollah approved it.