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Gunmen carry out deadly terror attack in Tel Aviv

JERUSALEM -- Two Palestinian gunmen opened fire near a popular open-air market in central Tel Aviv on Wednesday night, killing four Israelis and wounding at least five others before being detained, Israel police said.

"Two terrorists opened fire at civilians," Tel Aviv district police commander Moshe Edri said, adding that one of the detained attackers was being treated for a gunfire wound.

A U.S. law enforcement source said that the terror suspects were said to be dressed as ultra-Orthodox Jews with a long black coat and black top hat, CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton reports.

​Israel security personnel search the area following a shooting attack that took place in the center of Tel Aviv June 8, 2016.
Israel security personnel search the area following a shooting attack that took place in the center of Tel Aviv June 8, 2016. Reuters/Baz Ratner

No Americans were injured or killed in the attack, a State Department source told CBS News.

Police had initially said there might be a third attacker but later ruled that out. Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital said four of the wounded Israelis are in critical condition.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told CBSN that authorities didn't receive any specific warnings about the attack.

"Both of the terrorists captured are being questioned," Rosenfeld said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with his defense minister and security leaders shortly after the attack and then traveled to the scene. He called the attack a "cold blooded murder by despicable terrorists," according to a statement from his office.

Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza, welcomed the attack but did not claim responsibility for it. Hamas official Mushir al-Masri called the shootings a "heroic operation" and the group later issued an official statement promising the "Zionists" more "surprises" during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Meital Sassi told Channel 10 TV she was out with her family celebrating her son's birthday at the Sarona market when she heard shots and "immediately understood it was a terror attack."

"We ran like lighting with the baby and the stroller," she said. "I yelled at people who didn't understand what was happening to run."

People hug each other following a shooting attack that took place in the center of Tel Aviv on June 8, 2016.​
People hug each other following a shooting attack that took place in the center of Tel Aviv on June 8, 2016. Reuters/Baz Ratner

The Ynet news website showed CCTV footage of civilians running into a nearby restaurant to take cover.

Shlomi Hajaj, director of the market, told Channel 10 that security guards at the entrance "prevented the attackers from entering the facility, averting a bigger disaster as the compound was packed with people."

Channel 10 cited witnesses as saying the two attackers were dressed in suits and ties and spent time in a nearby restaurant, sitting at the bar, before the attack. It showed footage of forensic teams dressed in white suits examining items in restaurants at the scene.

A U.S. law enforcement source told CBS News the suspects have been identified as Mohammed Ahmed Musa Mahamra and Haled Mohammed Musa Mahamra, cousins from the Palestinian village of Yatta, near the West Bank town of Hebron, which has been a flashpoint for violence in recent months.

​Israeli security personnel secure the area where a shooting attack took place in the center of Tel Aviv June 8, 2016.
Israeli security personnel secure the area where a shooting attack took place in the center of Tel Aviv June 8, 2016. Reuters/Baz Ratner

Over the last eight months Palestinian attacks, mostly stabbings, have killed 31 Israelis and two Americans. About 200 Palestinians have been killed during that time, most identified as attackers by Israel.

Most of the attacks have been in east Jerusalem or the West Bank, territories Israel seized from Jordan in the 1967 war which the Palestinians want for their future state.

But Tel Aviv, Israel's most cosmopolitan city, has not been spared.

A member of Israel's Arab minority went on a shooting rampage on New Year's Day, killing three people. And in March a Palestinian went on stabbing spree, killing an American and wounding 7 other people before he was shot and killed.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner condemned the "horrific terrorist attack" in a statement, saying "cowardly attacks against innocent civilians can never be justified."

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