Four people were killed Tuesday afternoon in a stabbing attack in Beer Sheva, the main city in southern Israel’s Negev desert, after which the prime minister promised a crackdown on “terrorists.”
The Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross, Magen David Adom, had initially reported one death, before raising the death toll to three and later to four in a latest tally. Around 4:00 p.m. local time (2:00 p.m. GMT), the suspect arrived by car at a gas station in a commercial area of the city and “stabbed a woman,” according to police.
He returned to the vehicle and hit a 60-year-old bicyclist, before approaching a nearby shopping center, where he got out of his vehicle and stabbed a man and a woman, the same source said. Civilians present at the scene opened fire in the direction of the assailant and “neutralized” him, the Israeli police added, without specifying whether the man was still alive.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who had just returned from a summit in Egypt with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi and the leader of the United Arab Emirates, Mohammed bin Zayed, was aware of what had happened in Beer Sheva and was in contact with the public security minister and the police chief, his office in Jerusalem said.
He later praised those who shot the suspected shooter, saying they “showed resolve and courage and prevented further casualties.”
“The security forces are on high alert. We will work hard against the terrorists. We will go after them and those who help them,” the Israeli prime minister tweeted.
Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, issued a statement that did not claim responsibility for the attack but blamed Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
Speaking to a radio station, the group’s spokesman, Hazem Qassem, said that “the operation is a response to the policy of ethnic displacement practiced by Israel against our Palestinian people inside the occupied territories.”
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