Man Shot Dead in Israel’s South After Attempting to Steal Soldier’s Weapon
i24 News – A man was shot on Sunday near Israel’s southern city Ashkelon after attempting to steal a weapon from the military, according to the Israeli army (IDF).
The IDF announced account that an “officer thwarted an attempted hijacking near Ashkelon” and added that more details would follow.
While the case was described in preliminary reports as a potentially nationalistic attack, later updates indicated that the incident was criminal in nature.
The suspect was identified as a Jewish Israeli man in his 20s who escaped from a mental health facility, according to Israel’s Ynet news site.
He reportedly attacked a female soldier in the area and threatened her with a plastic gun in order to seize her weapon.
After taking her gun, the man then attempted to flee, but was shot to death by a nearby officer.
The spread of illegally-obtained weapons in Israel remains a pressing issue for the country’s inhabitants as officials move to counter a “terror wave” of shooting and stabbing attacks.
A 2020 report from Israel’s parliament found that approximately 400,000 illegal weapons are circulating in the country, and while a number of firearms are homemade, a large majority are stolen from the military.