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Israel asks its licensed citizens to carry guns in public after terror attacks

A handgun in a fanny pack. (Gus Chan / The Plain Dealer/TNS)
March 31, 2022

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called on Israeli citizens with gun licenses to carry their weapons in public on Wednesday in the wake of several deadly terrorist attacks.

“Citizens of Israel, we are currently experiencing a wave of murderous terrorism,” Bennett said in a video statement, translated by the Jerusalem Post and other Israeli press outlets. “What is expected of you, citizens of Israel? Alertness and responsibility. Open your eyes. Whoever has a license to carry a weapon, this is the time to carry it.”

Bennett’s remarks come after Israel had already seen four separate deadly attacks in the span of a week.

On Thursday morning, hours after Bennett called for licensed civilians to carry their guns in public, an Israeli man was severely injured by a Palestinian suspect who stabbed him with a screwdriver while on a bus near the West Bank settlement of Efrat, Haaretz reported. An Israeli civilian on that bus had been carrying a firearm and fatally shot the suspect, identified as Nidal Jaa’fra. The stabbing victim was hospitalized in a serious but stable condition.

On Tuesday, an attacker opened fire in the Israeli city of Bnei Brak, killing five people. The Times of Israel reported the attacker, identified as Diaa Hamarsheh, was a Palestinian who entered the country illegally and who previously served time in Israeli prison for his involvement with a terror group and weapons trading. Hamarsheh reportedly killed three people at one location in Bnei Brak, before moving on to another where he killed another person. Hamarsheh was stopped when a pair of police officers exchanged gunfire and fatally shot him. One of the police officers was also wounded in the gunfight and died in the hospital.

Two Israeli police officers were shot and killed on Sunday by a pair of Arab Israeli suspects in the northern city of Hadera. The BBC reported the two attackers were shot dead by undercover officers from a counter-terrorism unit who happened to be nearby when the attack began. Haaretz reported one of the two attackers had been convicted in 2016 of attempting to enter Syria and join ISIS. Haaretz separately reported ISIS claimed credit for Sunday’s attack.

Last Tuesday, four Israeli civilians were killed and two more were injured when a convicted terrorist with ties to the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS) rammed them with a vehicle and then stabbed them with a knife in the city of Beersheba. The Times of Israel reported the attacker, identified as Mohammad Ghaleb Abu al-Qi’an, was fatally shot by a bus driver and another passerby.