Washington, June 9: The United States has denounced a mass shooting in a nightspot in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv that left at least four people dead.
The State Department yesterday dubbed this latest in a series of assaults by alleged Palestinian extremists a "horrific terrorist attack."
"We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those killed and our hopes for a quick recovery for those wounded," spokesman Mark Toner said. "These cowardly attacks against innocent civilians can never be justified.
We are in touch with Israeli authorities to express our support." Two men from the occupied West Bank had opened fire at patrons at sidewalk cafes across the street from Israel's military headquarters.
Israeli police later said one attacker had been arrested and the other had been wounded by gunfire and was undergoing surgery. Since October, violence related to the Middle East conflict has killed 207 Palestinians, 28 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese. Most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, according to Israeli authorities.
The United States has called on both Israeli and Palestinian leaders to take "concrete steps" to restore confidence between the communities.
Washington stands firm behind the right of Israel to defend itself and condemns all attacks on Israeli civilians. But US officials are also critical of Israel's settlement building on occupied land, arguing it undermines hopes for an eventual peace deal.