- (Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
A bank robber holding a woman hostage in Israel made the decision to turn his gun on himself after police raided the building, leaving five dead.
Three women and two men were left dead after a botched bank robbery in Israel's southern city of Beersheba. The robbery occurred around noontime at Bank Hapoalim, according to reports. An additional three people were also injured.
Investigators are still unclear about the number of robbers involved in the crime. One of the bank robbers, who had taken a female hostage, turned the gun on himself and committed suicide instead as police raided the building.
"The woman hostage walked out of the bank after the robber shot and killed himself. She was taken for medical treatment" in a hospital in Beersheva, the Negev city where the robbery took place, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP. "Four people were killed besides the robber, and three others were wounded. As far as we're concerned, the event is over."
A "special anti-terror police unit" was summonsed to handle the robbery. A nearby school was forced to be on lockdown as sounds of gunshots pervaded the neighborhood. Such a violent bank robbery is uncommon for the area, according to former Israel police commissioner Assaf Hefetz, who spoke with army radio.
"I can't remember a bank robbery that ended with four fatalities," he said.
Beersheba is the 7th largest city in Israel with a population of nearly 200,000 residents, mostly immigrants. It has had problems with government policy in the past, but recently seen an influx in population growth.