Four people have been killed and several others wounded in an attack on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, in Southern Israel, according to a Police report.
According to the report and the Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency medical responders, three people were stabbed to death outside the BIG shopping centre in Beersheba, while a fourth was rammed by a vehicle driven by the assailant.
Police said that “civilians who were at the scene fired (at the suspect) and neutralised him”, without specifying his condition. An MDA spokesman disclosed that four people were killed as a result of the attack.
Move by the Prime Minister
Prime Minister, Natfali Bennett, promised a crackdown on “terrorists” following the bloodshed outside a gas station and a shopping centre in the southern city of Beersheba.
As it stands, police authorities have not officially identified the suspect but multiple Israeli media outlets reported the attacker was a Bedouin man in his thirties who had previously been convicted over seeking ties with the Islamic State group.
Bennett met with his Internal Security Minister and Police Chief shortly after the attack, the Prime Minister’s office noted.
The Prime Minister in a tweet, praised those who shot the alleged assailant, saying they “showed resourcefulness and courage and prevented further casualties”.
“Security forces are on high alert. We will work hard against terrorists. We will pursue them as well and those who help them.”Prime Minister, Natfali Bennett
According to some reports, the attacker was shot dead by a bus driver, adding that the assailant was an Israeli Arab, though is not yet been confirmed.
Who should be blamed?
Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, released a statement that did not claim the attack but rather, blamed it on Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
Speaking to a Hamas-controlled radio station, the Group’s Spokesman, Hazem Qassem, intimated that the “operation is a response to the policy of ethnic displacement practiced by Israel against our Palestinian people inside the occupied territories”.
According to Times in Israel, the suspect had previously served four years in prison for seeking to form a group that planned to join IS in Syria and preach Jihadist ideology, but Israel’s security services could not immediately confirm the details.
Stabbing and car-ramming attacks, often by lone Palestinian assailants, are common in Israel. But much of the recent violence has occurred in East Jerusalem, the Palestinian sector of the city annexed by Israel after the 1967 Six-Day War, or in the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since the same year.
Attacks resulting in multiple Israeli fatalities have also been rare in recent years, while Israel’s South, including Beersheba, has largely been spared such violence.
The region has seen unrest involving Bedouin, who are part of Israel’s 20 percent Arab minority and have clashed with security forces, typically over land disputes.
Mansour Abbas, the Leader of Israel’s Islamist Raam Party that backs Bennett’s government and was widely supported by Bedouin voters in elections last year (2021), denounced the attack.
“The Raam party condemns the criminal attack in Beersheba and sends its condolences to the families of those killed,” the Party noted in a statement.
The local council in Hura, a Bedouin community near Beersheba, also condemned the attack as a “criminal and terrorist act”.