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Israel Arrests Third Suspect in Tel Aviv Attack

  • VOA News

Israeli soldiers stand guard at the entrance of Yatta near the West Bank city of Hebron, June 9, 2016.

Israeli soldiers stand guard at the entrance of Yatta near the West Bank city of Hebron, June 9, 2016.

Israeli security forces have arrested a third suspect in Wednesday's terrorist attack in Tel Aviv that killed four and wounded five.

Police captured him Thursday in the West Bank town of Yatta.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the suspect a collaborator with the two Palestinian cousins from Yatta alleged to have opened fire on diners and shoppers at a popular marketplace. Both were in police custody.

As promised, Israel reacted strongly to Wednesday's attack, suspending travel permits for 83,000 Palestinians during the holy month of Ramadan.

Netanyahu said police placed a quarantine around Yatta and canceled hundreds of work permits for members of the clan to which the suspects belong.

The prime minister also said more security steps were planned, but he declined to give details.

Israeli policemen secure the entrance to a restaurant following a shooting attack in the center of Tel Aviv, June 8, 2016.

Israeli policemen secure the entrance to a restaurant following a shooting attack in the center of Tel Aviv, June 8, 2016.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Thursday that Israel should avoid punishing those who have nothing to do with terrorism.

"We certainly respect their [Israel's] desire to express outrage and to protect the safety of their people," Toner said. "But we would only urge any measure that it takes be done with the consideration towards the many innocent Palestinians who are simply trying to go about their daily lives."

Toner again said there could never be any justification for terrorism.

He said that the U.S. supported Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' statement denouncing attacks on civilians, but that it was deeply troubled by the statement from the militant Palestinian group Hamas celebrating the shootings.

Israelis light candles near the site of a Palestinian shooting attack in Tel Aviv, June 9, 2016.

Israelis light candles near the site of a Palestinian shooting attack in Tel Aviv, June 9, 2016.

Hamas has not officially claimed responsibility for the shootings, but a Hamas official called them a "heroic operation."

There were also celebrations in some Palestinian towns after the killings. Netanyahu said, "It only reminds us whom and what we're dealing with."

Wednesday's shootings were carried out at the Sarona marketplace in central Tel Aviv, a popular gathering place for shopping and dining. Security footage broadcast on Israeli television showed frantic diners scrambling for safety between tables and overturned chairs as the shooting began.

Israeli soldiers stop Palestinians at the entrance of Yatta near the West Bank city of Hebron June 9, 2016.

Israeli soldiers stop Palestinians at the entrance of Yatta near the West Bank city of Hebron June 9, 2016.

The gunmen, well-dressed in coats and ties, shot some of the victims at point-blank range.

Israel has seen a relative lull in nine months of Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians and police, which were sparked by rumors that Israel was planning to take over an East Jerusalem religious site sacred to Muslims and Jews.

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