Two men were shot dead Thursday afternoon on Mishmar Hayarden Street in Petah Tikvah, a town of 200,000 east of Tel Aviv. A third man was severely wounded in the attack.
According to police, the three victims, all in their late thirties, were linked to criminal activity, Ynet reported. One of them had served a prison sentence for murder.
Police said the case was being treated as part of a clash between rival crime organizations. Police forces placed roadblocks in the area and were searching for the shooters.
“It’s a difficult crime scene,” said Chief Superintendent Sigal Bar Tzvi, who commands the Petah Tikvah police department. “These were young people shot at close range by one or two motorcycle-riding shooters.”
The shooting took place only a few meters from a nearby elementary school. One of the shooters “wore a red shirt and a bandana and had a tattoo on his right side,” one fourth-grader told Ynet. The shooter “warned us to go inside,” the child said.
The students were outside at recess at the time of the shooting. When the shots were heard, teachers quickly rushed the students indoors to their classrooms, where many called parents to tell them they were okay.
The wounded victim was evacuated by Magen David Adom to Petah Tikvah’s Beilinson Hospital.
The incident is the latest in a series of shootings in the city that police say are part of a gang war centered on the city’s eastern neighborhoods. Last April, a motorcyclist fired and fatally wounded a 50-year-old man at the intersection of Macabim and Sapir streets in the city, near the arts center and in front of dozens of witnesses.
Last February, a young man was killed in gunfire while sitting in his car outside his home on Ben Tzvi Street. And in December, a bomb placed in a motorcycle on Kehilat Chicago Street killed a 44-year-old man known to police.