JERUSALEM – A gunman opened fire at a popular bar in the central Israeli city of Tel Aviv on Friday afternoon, killing two and wounding at least three others before fleeing the scene, police said.

The police said the motive for the attack, which took place on a busy main street, was not immediately clear and it was not known if the shooter was Palestinian or if it was a gangland shooting.

Spokeswoman Luba Samri said five people were wounded, two of whom died in hospital. She said a massive manhunt was underway for the shooter. Large police forces were deployed at the scene.

The attack comes amid more than three months of almost daily Palestinian attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers. On the Israeli side, 21 people have died, mostly in stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks. At least 131 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, 90 of them identified by Israel as assailants. The rest died in clashes with security forces.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai visited the wounded in hospital and later said he spoke with those who were able to talk. He said that inside the bar, “friends were celebrating a birthday and a man opened fire at them from the outside.”

He said “lessons will be learned” to improve security.

Channel 10 reported that an assault rifle was used in Friday’s attack and that about 30 shots were fired. It said that Israeli police and special forces are going house to house in the area, searching for the gunman.