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JERUSALEM — A Palestinian gunman killed five people in an ultra-Orthodox city outside of Tel Aviv on Tuesday night, the latest in a surge of attacks in Israel this month.
The shooting was the fifth attack in less than two weeks, and brought the total death toll in recent days to 11 — the most people killed by militants in such a short period in Israel, outside of a full-scale war, in several years.
The spasm of violence heightened fears of an even more intense surge over the next month, when the rare convergence of Ramadan, Passover and Easter is expected to raise tensions further between Israelis and Palestinians.
Magen David Adom, an Israeli emergency medical service, said that four victims were pronounced dead at the scene of the attack in Bnei Brak, a religious suburb on the eastern edge of Tel Aviv. A fifth was taken to the hospital where he died, according to a medic who was with him in the ambulance.
One of the victims was a police officer from a squad that intercepted and killed the attacker, the police said. The officer was later named as Amir Khoury, a 32-year-old Arab Israeli from northern Israel. A second victim was identified by Israeli broadcasters as Yaakov Shalom, and two others were said to be foreign workers.
To the medics on the scene, the attack drew echoes of the second intifada, a Palestinian uprising that set off wave of violence from 2000 to 2005 that killed more than 1,000 Israelis and 3,000 Palestinians.
“This definitely brings back old memories,” Daniel Amzallag, the medic who accompanied the fifth victim to the hospital, said in a phone interview. “It’s been a very long time since an event that major.”
After the attack, the Israeli Police said that all its forces would begin focusing on counterterrorism and street presence, scaling back other activities, and extending the length of its shifts. The Israeli Army said it was sending extra troops to the occupied West Bank, where the shooter was said to have lived.
The Israeli prime minister, Naftali Bennett, met with senior security officials in the aftermath of the attack and condemned the violence.
“Israel is facing a wave of murderous Arab terrorism,” he said in a statement.
“The security forces are at work,” he added. “We will fight terror with persistence, diligence and an iron fist. They will not move us from here. We will prevail.”
Video broadcast by Kan, the Israeli public broadcaster, showed the gunman walking across a quiet street and firing an assault rifle at passers-by and a cyclist, who managed to cycle away.
He then shouted to a passing driver in Hebrew to “stop,” before opening fire into the car, causing it to crash. Another video showed the gunman approaching a person sitting in a chair outside a shop, and shooting the person dead from behind.
The shooter then drove the motorcycle or scooter to a second nearby location, where he was shot and killed by the police shortly after 8 p.m., a police spokesman said.
One volunteer medic with Magen David Adom, Menachem Englander, who lives yards from the attack, said he narrowly avoided being shot himself after leaving his home upon hearing the first gunshots.
“I immediately went out to the street and saw a terrorist pointing a weapon at me,” Mr. Englander said in a statement published by Magen David Adom. “By a miracle his weapon jammed and he couldn’t shoot.”
The gunman was a Palestinian from the northern West Bank who was jailed for six months several years ago for arms trafficking and membership in a terrorist group, Kan reported. A Palestinian news agency, Shehab News, posted video of young Palestinian men celebrating on Tuesday night in what the agency said was the attacker’s village.
Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, which manages parts of the West Bank, broke his usual habit of staying silent after terrorist attacks in Israel to condemn the shootings.
“The killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians will only lead to further deterioration of the situation, especially as we are approaching the holy month of Ramadan and the Christian and Jewish holidays,” he said in a statement published by Wafa, a news agency run by the authority.
Hamas, the Islamist group that is the de facto authority in the Gaza Strip, praised the attack in a statement as a “heroic operation” but did not directly claim responsibility for it.
A Hamas official said it was a response to the groundbreaking summit held Monday in the Negev Desert in southern Israel, in which four Arab foreign ministers gathered for the first time on Israeli soil for a diplomatic meeting, disappointing many Palestinians who saw the move as a betrayal.
The attack was “a quick response to the summit of shame and disgrace held in the Negev,” Mosheer al-Masri, the official, said during an interview with a Hamas-run television channel.
Violence often rises during Ramadan, which starts later this week — and Ramadan-related tensions were one catalyst for an 11-day war between Israel and Islamist militants in Gaza last May.
Analysts fear that further violence could break out in Jerusalem, where higher numbers of Jews and Muslims are likely to try to enter the Temple Mount or the Aqsa Mosque compound during the overlapping festivals.
The attack on Tuesday came two days after another gun attack in Hadera, northern Israel, where two Arab Israelis armed with heavy automatic weapons fatally shot two police officers. Unusually, the attack was later claimed by Islamic State, rather than by a Palestinian militant group.
The brazen nature of both attacks alarmed security officials because they involved firearms, implying a level of planning usually absent from recent terrorist attacks in Israel, which have been mostly carried out with knives.
In a third attack last Monday in southern Israel, an assailant killed four people, stabbing three and ramming another with his car.
Most of the recent victims have been Israeli Jews, but some were also members of Israel’s Arab minority.
Mansour Abbas, an Arab Israeli politician who leads the first independent Arab party to join an Israeli government, also condemned the attack, noting that terrorists do not distinguish between Arabs and Jews.
“We all stand together in the face of a murderous wave of terror,” he said.
Patrick Kingsley reported from Jerusalem, and Gabby Sobelman from Rehovot, Israel. Iyad Abuheweila contributed reporting from Gaza, and Myra Noveck from Jerusalem.