lunes, 20 de mayo de 2013

Police identify Beersheba bank shooting victims - Jerusalem Post

Four people were killed in a shootout at a branch of Bank Hapoalim on Jabotinsky Street in Beersheba on Monday afternoon.

Police declassified the names of the victims, identifying them as bank manager Avner Cohen, his deputy Meir Zitun and Anat Even-Haim, a client, a few hours after the incident.

Idan Schnitzer, a Beersheba resident, aged 22, was later identified as the fourth victim. After the rampage the assailant ended his own life.

Channel 2 reported on Monday that the name of the suspect in the shooting was Itamar Alon.  

Alon was in debt to the bank and had recently reached an agreement with it to return his debt in monthly installments of 500 shekels a month, Channel 2 reported.  

Police are probing the possibility that the perpetrator went into the Beersheba bank with the intent to murder, contradicting initial reports of an attempted robbery.

An initial investigation into the murder of four people at a Hapoalim Bank branch on Monday revealed that the perpetrator, a Jewish resident of the city and former border police guard, was out for revenge after the bank did not agree to extend his credit line to cover his mortgage. 

The assailant returned to the bank after the dispute, armed with a gun, and shot two bank employees. During the commotion, another two bystanders were shot, and the suspect took a hostage.

He later barricaded himself with a hostage, who was released alive after an hour, and then shot and killed himself.

A hospital spokesman said at least five people were injured, and four suffered from shock.

One of the injured men was evacuated to Soroka Medical Center to undergo surgery.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent his condolences to the families of those killed, labeling the incident a huge tragedy.

"I can't remember events like this - at least not in recent years. We can't let a terror attack like this happen again," he said.

"Something like this is so disgusting, we cannot just let it pass," said head of Yisrael Beytenu Avigdor Liberman, adding that fighting crime is like fighting terror.

"We have to reach the right conclusions so these events don't happen again," Liberman said.

Police arrived to the scene about 15 minutes after shots had been heard coming from the bank, a witness told Channel 2.

Channel 2 reported security forces there had tried to determine how many people were inside the bank, and whether there were other robbers present inside the building.

According to witnesses inside the bank, two men entered the premise yelling "this is a robbery". One of the robbers then grabbed a bank clerk and took her to the bathroom where she remained until she was released, Army Radio reported.

One survivor of bank shooting says Beduin man laid on top of him, shielded him with his body while he played dead.

Authorities tried to negotiate with the robbers to release the hostage, during which time one reportedly shot himself.

According to Army Radio, police had arrested a second suspect.

There were contradicting reports that one robber was a Jewish resident of Beersheba while other reports alleged that assailants were residents of the Beduin city of Rahat.

Member of Knesset Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List) in a written statement on Monday, labeled as racist the automatic blame that the Israeli media attributed to an Arab in the shooting.

"The Israeli media's automatic blame of Arabs in Rahat to the horrible killing in Beersheba is stereotypical racism of an element that hoped that the murderer would be an Arab which broadcast a malicious false accusation that demands an immediate apology," Tibi wrote.

"These actions strengthen hatred of Arabs which is not the media's role," the Knesset member added.

Residents of the Beduin city of Rahat in the Negev reacted with anger to false reports in the Israeli media attributing the mass murder to two residents of the city, and are asking for a public apology, Rahat Mayor Faiz Abu-Seheban said Monday.

"There is a lot of anger in the city because they blamed the city of Rahat and its residents for this despicable act that we condemn unequivocally."

Abu-Seheban said he sent a letter to Channel 2 and Channel 10 on Monday evening demanding they issue a public apology for the report, but said he has not received a reply. He said if they don't get an apology they will take steps of their own choosing, including possibly a one-hour strike in the city's public school system.

"The Israeli media is always full of stereotypes against the Beduin community, when all we want is to live as good neighbors here on our land."

Police investigation of the attack was ongoing on Monday. It marks third murder/suicide in Israel involving a current or former Border Police officer since last October

Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario en la entrada