Arab Terrorism Strikes Beersheva Killing Two Israeli Women
Jerusalem----February 10........Two Arab terrorists entered the southern Israeli city of Beersheva today spraying automatic gunfire at a restaurant killing two Israeli woman. Over ten people people were wounded in the what appeared to be a drive-by shooting of an IDF base. The terror attack took place shortly before 1:30 p.m.
The two fatally wounded Israelis were serving in the IDF. They were identified as Lt. Keren Rotstein, 20, from Ashkelon, and Ayah Malachi, 18, from Moshav En Habsor.
An IDF officer, who happened to be driving by at the time, reacted bravely and quickly, pulling out his handgun and killing the two terrorists. One of them was wearing an explosive belt, which sappers neutralized after the attack. Police called off the search for a possible third gunman after determining there were only two.
The casualties, including 16 people being treated for shock, were transferred to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba.
The terrorists drove to an intersection near the IDF base, got out of the car, and began pumping bullets in the direction of the base. They fired six magazines, hitting civilians and soldiers sitting at a nearby restaurant. Soldiers and police officers returned fire, killing one gunman in the car and one in a nearby parking garage, Israel Radio reported.
Witnesses reported the attackers were wearing civilian clothing and did not have a Mideastern appearance.
Police say they found a belt of explosives strapped around the body of one of the terrorists in Beersheba, suggesting casualties could have been much higher.
"They sprayed gunfire in every direction. I focused on one of them and shot at him until he fell," Army Captain Guy Shaham told Israel Radio. A second attacker ran to a nearby car park, where soldiers from the base shot him, he added.
No group has taken responsibility for the attack.
In other news today, Palestinian terrorists fired two Kassam missiles into Israeli territory near the Gaza Strip this morning. There were no injuries in the attack.
One of the missiles slammed down between two tractors working in a kibbutz field in the western Negev northeast of Gaza City, Army Radio reports. IDF tanks fired several shells in the direction of the launching position.
Troops later discovered the time-delayed triple launcher. The Islamic extremist terror group Hamas reportedly claimed responsibility and the PA has announced that they have arrested the Hamas leader responsible for the missile attack. How long the PA will detain this Hamas leader and exactly what charges and punishment will be issued remains a question. The PA has a long history of making arrests for the sake of public relations and then releasing the terrorists shortly afterwards.
An IDF investigation has confirmed that the ballistic device was a Kassam missile, which will signal the first time that Arab terrorists have used the new weapon, which has a range of over four kilometers.
Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, have warned that the current conflict would be taken to an entirely different level if such a missile is deployed.
On February 7, the Israel Defense Forces announced it had seized several homemade Kassam-2 rockets and a launcher allegedly being smuggled by Palestinians between the West Bank towns of Nablus and Jenin. The IDF said the missiles have a range of between 6 and 10 kilometers.
The U.S. State Department has labeled Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization, as a terrorist organization. The group's military wing, Izzedine al Quassam, has admitted responsibility for terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and well as attacks against the Israeli military.
Sunday's attack in Beersheba was the third Arab terror attack carried out on Israeli civilians in a day.