Soldier killed, a dozen injured as gunman targets bus crowd
An Israeli soldier was killed last night and at least 12 others injured in an attack in the southern city of Beersheba, in one of the boldest assaults yet in the latest wave of violence.
Initial reports said a gunman, thought to be Palestinian, charged into a bus terminal and stole a gun from an Israeli soldier, opening fire on crowds.
The gunman was killed, and an African bystander was shot by security forces who mistook him for a second gunman.
The identity of the assailant was not immediately known, and there was no claim of responsibility for the attack.
But it was praised by militant groups in Gaza, with Hamas calling it a "natural response to Israelis' assassinations" and Islamic Jihad saying it was a "normal answer to Israeli crimes".
Police said four officers were among the wounded.
The attack took place hours after John Kerry, US Secretary of State, announced plans to meet the Israeli and Palestinian leaders this week to try to stem the unrest plaguing the region.
Eight Israelis have been killed in more than 20 stabbing attacks since last month, while at least 35 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, including 18 alleged attackers.
Israel further tightened security around the country yesterday, constructing a new cement barrier between the Jewish and Arab neighbourhoods in east Jerusalem.
Numerous roadblocks and checkpoints have also been installed across east Jerusalem, which one resident said had lengthened his commute from five minutes to more than an hour.
Israeli media showed footage of a blood-streaked floor and rows of ambulances outside the bus station last night.
After the attack, a crowd of Israelis gathered and chanted "death to Arabs", as tensions continued to rise.