OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel prepared to hold funerals Wednesday for four people killed in an attack by a convicted Islamic State group sympathiser, that was one of the country’s deadliest in recent years.
Two men and two women were killed in Tuesday’s stabbing and car-ramming attack outside a shopping mall in Beersheba, the main city in the Negev region of southern Israel. They included two mothers of three and a rabbi.
Two women who were wounded in the attack were both in stable condition, the city’s Soroka hospital said.
The assailant, who Israeli media identified as Mohammed Abu al-Kiyan, an Arab Israeli who had previously tried to join the Islamic State group, was shot dead by armed bystanders, police said.
The Abu al-Kiyan Bedouin tribe, to which the attacker belonged, “strongly” condemned his actions, saying it was an “individual” act that did “not represent the law-abiding members of the tribe who have always believed in coexistence”.
But police later announced that they and agents of Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security agency had arrested two members of Abu al-Kiyan’s family on suspicion of failing to alert the security forces to an imminent “terrorist” attack. The pair were expected to appear in court later Wednesday.
Multiple Israeli media outlets reported that Abu al-Kiyan, a former schoolteacher in his 30s, had previously been convicted of seeking ties with IS and preaching jihadist ideology.
In 2015, Israel arrested six Bedouin, including four teachers, for allegedly supporting IS.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who met with his internal security minister and police chief after the attack, praised those who shot the alleged assailant, saying they “showed resourcefulness and courage and prevented further casualties”. “We will work hard against terrorists. We will pursue them as well as those who help them,” he tweeted.