At least one person has been killed, and a further 11 are wounded, following a shooting, by a Palestinian gunman, at a bus station, in southern Israel.
A Palestinian gunman went on a shooting rampage at the central bus station in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba on Sunday, killing a soldier and wounding 11 other people, police said.
In one of the most serious Palestinian attacks against Israelis during this month’s upsurge of violence, police said the attacker was shot dead after a protracted gun battle, police said.
Palestinian media outlets named the attacker as Asam al-Araj from Shuafat, on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
A number of the wounded were police officers. Hospital officials said two people were in critical condition.
Initial reports had said two attackers were involved but the regional police commander said investigators later believed there was only one.
Police commander Yoram Halevy said the gunman had entered the secured bus station and used a pistol to kill the soldier and grab his assault rifle, which he then used to shoot others.
Forty-two Palestinians and eight Israelis have died in the recent violence, which was in part triggered by Palestinians’ anger over what they see as increased Jewish encroachment on Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound.
In public remarks on Sunday to his cabinet, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “We are preserving the status quo, we will continue to do so,” referring to the Jerusalem holy site that is also revered by Jews as the location of two destroyed biblical temples.
The Palestinian dead this month include attackers wielding knives and protesters shot by Israeli forces during violent demonstrations. Israelis have been killed in random attacks in the street or on buses.
Two of the alleged assailants in the attacks on Israelis over the past two weeks were Israeli Arabs. The others were Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.