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Israel Punishes 83,000 Palestinians over Tel Aviv Shooting

Israeli soldiers man a temporary checkpoint at the entrance of the Palestinian village of Yatta in the occupied West Bank. | Photo: AFP Israeli soldiers man a temporary checkpoint at the entrance of the Palestinian village of Yatta in the occupied West Bank. | Photo: AFP
Israel suspended entry permits for a staggering 83,000 Palestinians Wednesday during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan after the deadly Tel Aviv shooting, in an act of collective punishment that is likely to increase tensions.

RELATED: 4 Killed in Tel Aviv Shooting

The measure from Israeli authorities came as two Palestinians dressed in black shot dead four people at a popular Tel Aviv nightspot, the deadliest attack in a months-long wave of violence, AFP report. 

Five people were wounded in addition to the four killed, and the shooting spread panic, with police clearing the area and crowds running for cover.

Police said one of the attackers was arrested, while the other was wounded by gunfire and had undergone surgery.

The market and complex of bars and restaurants is located across the street from Israel's defence ministry and main army headquarters.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the scene of what he called the "cold-blooded terrorist murder" after returning from a trip to Moscow and conferred with senior colleagues, including newly installed hardline defence minister Avigdor Lieberman.

 

"We discussed a range of offensive and defensive steps which we shall take in order to act against this phenomenon," Netanyahu's office quoted the premier as saying.

"There will be intensive action by the police, the army and other security services, not just to catch every accomplice to this murder but also to prevent further incidents."

Police said the two attackers were cousins from the Hebron area in the West Bank, and one of the Israeli authorities' first moves was to revoke tens of thousands of entry permits.

"All permits for Ramadan, especially permits for family visits from Judea and Samaria to Israel, are frozen," said a statement from COGAT, the defence ministry unit which manages civilian affairs in the occupied West Bank.

Israelis refer to the West Bank by its biblical names, Judea and Samaria.

RELATED:  Palestinian Youth Gets 18 Years in Prison for Stabbing Incident

It said that 83,000 Palestinians would be affected, adding that hundreds of residents of the Gaza Strip who had received permits to visit relatives and holy sites during Ramadan would also have access frozen.

It said it had frozen permits for 204 relatives of one of the alleged attackers.

Ramadan began on Sunday night, and thousands of Palestinians visit the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third-holiest site in Islam, each week during Ramadan.

Violence since October has killed at least 207 Palestinians, 28 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese.

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