Israeli Soldier Is Killed in Attack by Palestinian

JERUSALEM — The wave of deadly attacks that has roiled Israel this month hit the southern desert city of Beersheba on Sunday, where aPalestinian armed with a pistol and a knife grabbed another weapon from a soldier, fatally shot him and wounded at least nine other people, including several police officers, according to the police.

In the confusion as the attack unfolded, a migrant who was apparently mistaken for a second assailant was shot and seriously wounded by an Israeli security guard, then beaten by a mob. He later died of his wounds, according to Israeli news media reports. Witnesses who said they knew the man identified him as an Eritrean asylum seeker. ThePalestinian assailant was killed at the scene by police officers.

After more than two weeks of almost daily attacks, mostly by young Palestinians armed with knives, there had been hope in Israel that Sunday would pass peacefully. But around 7:30 p.m., reports emerged of the shooting at the central bus station in Beersheba.

Based on initial reports, some Israeli commentators considered this attack more sophisticated and requiring more planning than many of the past ones this month, most of which have been carried out in Jerusalem or the West Bank by Palestinians with no known links to militant organizations.

The identity of the assailant in Beersheba was not immediately known, and no group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. But officials from Hamas, the Islamic militant group that dominates Gaza, praised it.

Hussam Badran, a spokesman for the group, said in a statement on its official website, “We bless this unique operation that comes as a natural response to the coldblooded executions carried out by the occupation army and its settlers,” referring to Israel. “The intifada is ongoing and escalating to achieve its objectives to deter the occupier and get rid of it once and for all,” he added.

The Palestinians have accused Israeli security forces of using excessive force because at least 18 suspects have been killed at the scene of the nearly 30 attacks on Israelis this month. Eight Israelis have been killed in those attacks.

In clashes with Israeli security forces this month, more than 20 Palestinians have also been fatally shot.

In one attack more than a week ago in the southern town of Kiryat Gat, a young Palestinian from the West Bank snatched an assault rifle from a soldier on a bus and fled into a nearby apartment block, holing up there. The police arrived and fatally shot him; he was unable to fire the weapon he stole because he had taken it without a magazine.

On Saturday there were five knife attacks against Israelis, mostly members of the security forces, in the West Bank city of Hebron, in Jerusalem and at a checkpoint between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah, according to the authorities. The Israelis escaped with minor injuries or unharmed. The assailants were all fatally shot.

Despite a security clampdown, Israel is struggling to prevent the attacks. The mayor of Beersheba, Ruvik Danilovich, told Army Radio on Sunday, “Fifty thousand people go through the central bus station on a daily basis, and the police have been doing their best to inspect people, but they cannot hermetically seal off this area against perpetrators.”


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