Israel is preparing to hold funerals for four people killed in one of the country’s bloodiest attacks in recent years, which was carried out by a convicted Islamic State sympathiser.
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.
According to the city’s Soroka hospital, two women who were also injured in the incident are in stable condition.
According to authorities, the assailant, named by Israeli media as Mohammed Abu al-Kiyan, an Arab Israeli who had previously attempted to join the Islamic State organization, was shot dead by armed bystanders.
The attacker’s tribe, the Abu al-Kiyan Bedouins, “strongly” criticized his actions, calling them “individual” acts that “do not represent the law-abiding members of the tribe who have always believed in peaceful coexistence.”
However, police and operatives from Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security agency later revealed that two members of Abu al-Kiyan’s family had been arrested on suspicion of neglecting to inform security personnel to an impending “terrorist” attack. The two were scheduled to appear in court later in the day on Wednesday.
Abu al-Kiyan, a former school teacher in his 30s, has previously been convicted of trying to join IS and promoting jihadist ideology, according to many Israeli media reports.
Six Bedouins, including four teachers, were detained in 2015 for allegedly aiding ISIS.
Following the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with his interior minister and police head, praising those who shot the alleged Islamic State sympathiser, stating they “showed creativity and courage and saved further casualties.”
“We will put up a lot of effort to combat terrorists. We’ll go after them as well as those who assist them “He said in a tweet.