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Civilians Who Neutralized Beersheva Terrorist Hailed as Heroes

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett praised the two civilians who fired on a terrorist knife attacker in Beersheva on Tuesday, March 22, with their handguns, killing the assailant.

“The civilians who shot the terrorist exhibited alertness and bravery, and prevented additional victims. Security forces at the highest alert. We will act with a strong hand against terrorists. We will pursue and get hold of those who assist them,” he said in a statement.

Four civilians were murdered in the terrorist attack in the city in one of the worst nationalistic incidents in recent years. Their names were released later on Tuesday: Doris Yahbas, 49, a mother of three; Laura Yitzhak, 43, another mother of three; Rabbi Moshe Kravitzky, a father of four; and Menahem Yehezkel, 67. Yahbas was pronounced dead at the scene.

The terrorist—a resident of the Bedouin town of Hora—rammed the bicycle ridden by Kravitzky before leaving his vehicle and embarking on a stabbing spree against the other civilian victims. Yitzhak was reportedly the first victim of the spree, stabbed at a gas station. From there the terrorist moved on to the Big shopping center in southern Israel where he continued his attacks.

Magen David Adom paramedics reported that four people had been taken to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva with stab wounds. Eliah Tobol, head of the United Hatzalah Branch in Beersheva, said in a statement that paramedics found wounded people at three different attack sites. The head of Magen David Adom’s paramedic service, Eli Bin, said the injured received treatment on the spot before being rushed to the hospital.

The terrorist was ultimately confronted and shot dead by a bus driver and another civilian on the scene, video footage posted on social media showed. First responders confirmed that the terrorist, identified by Palestininan media as Muhammad Abu al-Qi’an, 34, died from the gunshot wounds. Abu al-Qi’an was known to be a supporter of ISIS and had served four years in prison for plotting to join the fundamentalist Islamic State terror group in Syria. He was released in 2019.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad welcomed the attack, saying that “resistance operations deter the occupation.”

A spokesman for the terror organization Tarek Salami said the attack is “a natural response to the terror crimes of Israel in the occupied Negev,” adding that “Israel should know that our people will not surrender, and that the flag of resistance and jihad will remain hoisted.”

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said: “Those who encourage the latest attacks or support them will pay the price.”

Speaking during a tour of Israel Defense Forces Northern Command, Gantz said the IDF and Israeli security forces will use all available means to prevent future attacks to any extent possible.

Michael Barak, a senior researcher at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya who teaches courses on terrorism and Islamic radical movements, said Israeli authorities had erred by not monitoring Abu Al-Kilyan after his release, saying that a mechanism is needed to ensure former ISIS prisoners do not harbor murderous intentions, as occurs in the West.

International officials condemned the attack.

“Despicable terrorist attack today in Beersheva,” said U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides. “This has to stop! My heart goes out to the victims and their families.”

The U.N. special coordinator for Middle East peace, Tor Wennesland, said there is “no justification for violence or terrorism … There is nothing heroic in the killing of civilians, and there is no excuse for praising such acts. It must be condemned by all.”

Wennesland went on to say that he is “increasingly alarmed by the continued violence in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel that is taking place on a daily basis. This is the seventh stabbing attack against Israelis this month.”

He added that these incidents “only highlight the volatility of the situation and the urgent need for all leaders to work together against the spiral of violence.”

E.U. Ambassador to Israel Dimiter Tzantchev also sent condolences to families of the victims, unequivocally condemning “such senseless acts.”

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