Israel: Motorcycle gunman kills five in third deadly attack in a week

A gunman on a motorcycle has killed at least five people after opening fire in a crowded city in central Israel.

Tuesday's shootings happened at two locations in Bnei Brak, an ultra-Orthodox city just east of Tel Aviv.

The number of people killed was confirmed by the Magen David Adom ambulance service.

It was the third deadly attack in the past week and appeared to be the latest in a string of attacks by Arab assailants ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Israeli media said the attacker was a Palestinian from the West Bank, who police shot dead. He was said to have been armed with an assault rifle.

"The terrorist was liquidated," ambulance spokesman Zaki Heller said.

Israel facing 'wave of murderous terror'

The previous two attacks, carried out by Arab citizens of Israel inspired by the so-called Islamic State extremist group, have raised concerns of further violence.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted that the country "is facing a wave of murderous Arab terror" and has called an emergency meeting of top security officials.

On Sunday, a pair of gunmen killed two young police officers during a shooting spree in the central city of Hadera.

And last week, a lone attacker killed four people in a car ramming and stabbing attack in the southern city of Beersheba.

Homes raided by security services

Earlier on Tuesday, Israeli security services raided the homes of at least 12 Arab citizens.

Two people were arrested for having suspected ties to Islamic State.

Hours before the raid, Mr Bennett said the recent assaults inside Israel marked a "new situation" that required stepped-up security measures.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the two previous attacks.

Ramadan is expected to begin on Saturday.

Last year, clashes between Israeli police and Muslim protesters during the holy month boiled over into an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza.

Hamas praised the shooting as a "heroic operation".