Netanyahu warns, police probe after Eritrean beaten during terror attack


Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Israelis to abide by the law, in the aftermath of Sunday evening’s terror attack which saw an Eritrean man mistakenly identified as a terrorist.

During the attack at Beer Sheva’s central bus station, a terrorist armed with a pistol and knife murdered a 19-year-old soldier and wounded ten others, before being shot by security forces. However, it was believed that 29-year-old Abtom Zarhom, an Eritrean worker, was a second assailant. He was pursued by security forces and shot, before a crowd of passers-by beat him severely, believing him to be a terrorist. Zarhom died from his wounds.

The incident has been described by some in the Israeli media as a “lynch” and widely condemned. Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the incident yesterday, saying that Israel is “a country of law. No one will take the law into his own hands. That’s the first rule.” He acknowledged that “We are in a continued struggle” and that “this thing sometimes creates friction between citizens in the locations of the attacks.” Nonetheless, he said that “A crowd who finds himself at the site (of an attack) should evacuate the area and let the emergency services do their job.”

Israeli police will consider pressing charges against those suspected of attacking Zarhom. Police spokeswoman Luba Samri commented, “It should be noted that the police see this in a very severe light and will not allow people to take the law into their hands.”

Meanwhile, it was revealed yesterday that the terrorist who perpetrated the Beer Sheva attack was a 21-year-old Bedouin man from the Negev town of Hura. At a press conference yesterday, Bedouin leaders condemned the attack. Talal Al-Krenawi, Mayor of the Bedouin town of Rahat said “I want to absolutely condemn this terrible act … Bedouin have never been a part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict … we live side by side with Jews everywhere.”