With Israel on High Alert, Man Shot Dead After Grabbing Weapon From Soldier

The man, who was known to welfare services, carried a toy pistol when he snatched the soldier's weapon at a bus stop in Israel's south, according to police officials

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Incident scene, Ashkelon, Israel on Sunday
Incident scene, Ashkelon, Israel on SundayCredit: Ilan Assayag

A Jewish Israeli was shot dead after seizing a weapon from a soldier at a bus stop in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on Sunday, Israeli police said.

According to Israel's military, the man was shot after a senior military commander who happened to be at the scene witnessed the hijacking and confronted him walking with the stolen weapon.

Incident scene, Ashkelon, Israel on Sunday

Col. Eliav Elbaz, commander of the Israel Defense Forces' Binyamin Brigade in the West Bank, ordered the man to stop and subsequently shot him.

The man, who was mentally ill and known to the police based on documents found on his body, was carrying a toy pistol which he used to threaten the female soldier with before snatching her weapon, police said.

The man, in his 20s from a village in southern Israel, was familiar to authorities for frequently escaping various institutions. In this case, according to police, he had come from his home.

At this stage there is no intention to question the military commander who, according to a source, believed the man to be a terrorist when he shot him.

The incident comes after a wave of terror claimed the lives of 14 Israelis in two weeks, putting the country on high alert during the month of Ramadan and upcoming Passover holiday.

On Thursday, a Palestinian gunman from Jenin opened fire on patrons at a bar in Tel Aviv, killing three and wounding several in the latest attack. Subsequent military raids of the attacker's home left one Palestinian dead and at least a dozen others wounded.

On Sunday, a Palestinian woman was shot dead in Hebron by Israeli forces after stabbing a Border Police officer, Israeli authorities said.

This follows the fatal shooting of another Palestinian woman near Bethlehem, who Israeli forces said approached them in a "suspicious manner" before being fired at.

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