In most Western nations its a sign that something has gone terribly wrong when military forces, and in particular commando units, are deployed to civilian areas. In some places like America, it’s simply not done, no matter the circumstances.
But that was the scene in Tel Aviv on Thursday night after a Palestinian terrorist killed two people and wounding at least seven more before escaping the scene of the attack.
Later identified as Ra’ad Hazem, a 28-year-old Palestinian from Jenin, the shooter opened fire at a bar on the crowded Dizengoff Street in central Tel Aviv. He then quickly fled before security forces could arrive, thus sparking a night-long manhunt through the densely-populated metropolis.
With Police overwhelmed by the effort, and officials seeking to urgently bring the incident to a close before anyone else was hurt, the army was called in to help.
And not just the army. Along with Border Police officers and other soldiers, IDF commandoes were deployed from Israel’s top two elite units – Sayeret Matkat, a special reconnaissance and counter-terror unit that is the equivalent of the US Army’s Delta Force; and Shaldag, an Israel Air Force special forces unit that is the equivalent of the British Army’s Special Air Services (SAS).
After long hours of searching, the terrorist was finally found when soldiers arrived at a mosque in Jaffa to review security camera footage. Hazem was killed during a brief exchange of fire with the Israeli forces.
Officials later reported that Hazem did not appear to have any organizational ties, though Hamas and Islamic Jihad openly celebrated his heinous actions in the Gaza Strip.