MDA treated wounded (illustrative)
MDA treated wounded (illustrative)Israel News Photo: (Flash 90)

A manhunt is underway for the black-garbed shooter who sprayed a Tel Aviv youth club with gunfire Saturday night, murdering two and wounding 15 other people before fleeing the scene. Police believe the weapon used in the attack was an M-16 assault rifle.

The attack took place at a youth center located at the corner of Ahad Ha'am and Nahmani streets, which was holding an event for teenagers at the time of the attack.

The club, which served homosexual youth, was located in a basement apartment whose location was allegedly secret -- but according to Meretz MK Nitzan Horovitz, the shooter had no trouble finding it.

Horovitz, who himself is homosexual, arrived on the scene shortly after the attack, told journalists, "We are always trying to find a discreet place. It isn't a pub or a club... the murderer knew exactly where to go," he added bitterly. He blamed "incitement of entire communities against us" for the attack.

One of the two victims was 26-year-old Yaniv Katz, a counselor in the center. The second victim was 17-year-old Liz Tarbishi, of Holon. Two youths remain hospitalized in critical condition, and three others were moderately wounded. Ten more people were lightly wounded, with others traumatized by the sudden attack.

The wounded were taken to the Ichilov and Wolfson hospitals. 

Police said there was no advance warning of a threat against the center. While security forces initially believed that the attack may have been terrorist in nature, police now believe that the attack was motivated by either a personal grudge or hatred of the homosexual community.