Jerusalem, Nov. 28 (Reuters): Suspected Palestinian gunmen opened fire near a bus terminal and a polling station during Israel’s Likud party leadership primary today, killing at least two people and wounding more than 20, police said.
The attack in northern Israel occurred at a time when the country was reeling from almost simultaneous missile and car bomb attacks on Israeli targets in Kenya earlier in the day that killed eight people.
A witness told Army Radio there were at least five people dead at the scene in the town of Beit Shean, in the Jordan river valley close to the borders with both the West Bank and Jordan.
Army Radio reported that three gunmen had been killed.
“There are many bodies here. The shooting has stopped,” fireman Ori Aharoni told Channel Two television.
Witnesses said the gunmen opened fire at two sites in the centre of the town.
One was close to the Likud polling ofice where voters were casting ballots to decide whether Prime Minister Ariel Sharon or his rival, hawkish foreign minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would lead the rightist Likud in a January general election. The other target was a bus stop near the main bus station.
“From my window I can see the Likud chapter.
“I saw a gunman, dressed in a military coat and black pants standing and with a cynical smile start firing indiscriminately into the crowd,” one witness said.
One of the gunmen killed by security forces wore an explosive belt but it did not detonate, a police spokesman said.