Israel: four dead in a knife and ram car attack
Eva Deschamps / March 23, 2022
It took Ghaleb Abu al-Qian, a 34-year-old Bedouin of Israeli nationality, a total of eight minutes to kill four people and wound five others in Beer Sheva, the capital of the Negev, in what is one of the deadliest assaults in recent years in the country.
According to Israeli police, the suspect, who has not been identified, stabbed a woman at a gas station, then ran over a cyclist with his car before continuing on to a nearby shopping center. He then got out of his vehicle and stabbed a man and a woman. He was finally confronted by a bus driver who shot him with his personal weapon.
Throughout the frantic race, the police did not intervene, reports our Jerusalem correspondent Michel Paul. A former teacher, the assailant had served time in prison for forming a cell that planned to travel to Syria to fight with the Islamic State organization, and for preaching about the jihadist group.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett offered his condolences to the families of the victims of this terrorist act and praised the courage of the civilians who opened fire on the assailant to avoid even more victims, while promising a strong response to terrorism. The Israeli security forces have been placed on high alert.
The far-right parties deplore what they call the laxity of the current government. For their part, Arab MPs are divided. Some condemn the attack. Others think that it will be a pretext for racist acts against the Bedouin community in Israel.
In a statement, the moderate Islamist Raam party, which concentrates its support among the Bedouins of the Negev and supports Prime Minister Bennett's current coalition government, strongly condemned the criminal attack. Raam calls on all citizens to maintain coexistence, to act responsibly and to promote a discourse of tolerance and wisdom, the party said.
In the evening, in the parking lot of the shopping mall where the attack took place, a dozen ultranationalist Jews gathered with Israeli flags and chanted death to the Arabs, an AFP journalist noted.