A forensic officer examines the body of a shooting attack victim in Tel Aviv, Saturday.Photo: AP
SLIDESHOW: Israel & Region World
The two fatalities were named later as 26-year-old counselor Yaniv Katz, from Givatayim, and Liz Tarbishi, 17, from Holon.
Their bodies were found in the center by paramedics, while the injured were rushed to the Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov Hospital) in Tel Aviv. Two victims were listed in critical condition, while three additional people were moderately hurt, Magen David Adom paramedics said. Several others were lightly wounded in the attack.
Large numbers of emergency vehicles converged on the scene minutes after the shooting, and patrol cars could be seen scouring the area for the gunman, who, according to eyewitnesses, was dressed in black.
A police crime scene investigation unit gathered evidence from the scene and a gag order was later placed on the details of the investigation.
Hundreds of local residents gathered around police lines, and tearful members of the local gay community wandered around the scene looking traumatized.
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said police had stepped up security around other gay centers and potential targets.
Speaking from the murder scene, police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. David Cohen said: "This is a most severe incident. The police are investing major resources and means to capture this murderer and his accomplices."
"These were teenagers," Yaniv Weisman, chairman of the Israeli Gay Youth organization, told The Jerusalem Post.
With tears in his eyes, Weisman added, "They came to this center from across the country to talk to one another and receive help. This was supposed to be a safe place for them. Someone knew what they were doing when they came here. This is not a pub or a club."
"Today, someone sent a message that gays in Tel Aviv and Israel are not safe," Weisman said.
PD: shame over Israel, verguenza sobre Israel, verguenza sobre los que piensan que La Torah esta por sobre el hombre, dias negros, aciagos para la libertad, J