Gunman Kills 4, Himself, In Be’er Sheva Bank

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -
Israeli security forces are seen following a shooting incident at a bank in Beersheva on Monday. (Flash90)
Israeli security forces are seen following a shooting incident at a bank in Beersheva on Monday. (Flash90)

A gunman shot dead four people in a bank in Israel on Monday after being refused an overdraft and cash from its automatic teller machine.

The assailant, identified by media reports as a former paramilitary border policeman, killed himself after police raided the Bank Hapoalim branch in the southern city of Be’er Sheva to free a hostage.

“It appears that we are talking about a lone individual who came to the bank in the morning hours, sought cover for a debt, a loan, and did not get it,” Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said on Army Radio.

After finding that he could also not draw cash from the automatic dispenser, the man “came back with a pistol and shot dead four people … bank employees and customers,” Aharonovitch said.

Police initially described the incident as a robbery but later said the assailant appeared to have known his victims and shot them without demanding any money.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called the incident a “great tragedy” for Israel, where soldiers carrying weapons are a common sight but such incidents are rare.

“It is not a common event in Israel. An attack like this must not [be allowed] to recur,” Netanyahu said at a meeting of his Likud party.