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Gunman kills four after bank refuses loan

A gunman shot dead four people execution-style in a bank in Israel after being refused an overdraft and cash from its automatic teller machine.

The assailant, identified by media reports as a former paramilitary border policeman, killed himself after police raided the Bank Hapoalim branch in the southern city of Beersheba to free his hostages.

"It appears that we are talking about a lone individual who came to the bank in the morning, sought cover for a debt, a loan, and did not get it," Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said.

After finding that he could also not draw cash from the automatic dispenser, the man "came back with a pistol and shot dead four people... bank employees and customers," Aharonovitch said. "He took a hostage, held her for an hour or more. The moment the police forces burst in, he killed himself."