May 21, 2013

5 dead in bank robbery in Israel

5 dead in bank robbery in Israel

Five people died in a bungled bank robbery before the gunman took his own life in southern Israel this afternoon.

The robbers struck at a branch of Bank Hapoalim in the southern city of Beersheba at about 2pm local time.

One of the robbers was reportedly barricaded inside the bank with one female hostage, before shooting himself.

Three men and a woman were reported among those dead.

Witnesses reported volleys of gunfire, and a nearby school went into lockdown. During the standoff, police apprehended one of the robbers, but the other remained holed up in the bank with at least one hostage, who later emerged unscathed.

'Four people have been killed and the robber apparently shot himself dead. The scene is now clear,' regional police commander Yoram Levy told Israel Radio after his forces raided the bank.

Israeli media reports said three bank employees and a customer were among the dead.

Witnesses said at least three people were injured, including one in critical condition from an upper-body wound and two suffering from shock.

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

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has informed of the incident.

According to Channel 2, authorities said the two assailants were residents of the Beduin village of Rahat.

Violent bank heists are rare in Israel. In 2011, a robber killed a security guard in a bank in the centre of the country.