The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) on Monday identified the terrorist who carried out the deadly attack in Beersheba’s Central Bus Station Sunday as Israeli Beduin Muhanad al-Uqbi, 21, from the Negev unrecognized village of Uqbi.
Al-Uqbi’s mother is from Gaza, and she moved to Israel under the Family Reunification Law. Al-Uqbi had no prior record of security offenses.
Security forces have placed a gag order on all other details of the investigation.
Armed with a pistol and a knife, al-Uqbi stormed the Beersheba central bus station on Sunday night, shot to death IDF Sgt. Omri Levy, snatched his rifle, then shot and wounded 11 Israelis before being shot dead by police.
During the attack, armed security personnel mistook an Eritrean man for a second terrorist and opened fire, wounding him in the lower part of the body. The man was then set upon by a mob that beat him severely, leading to his death.
Sheikh Sayid, the leader of the al-Uqbi family and a relative of the terrorist, told The Jerusalem Post
that he condemns the attack and was shocked to hear of it. Sayid said he had no idea how this happened and was awaiting the results of the investigation.
He described the gunman has having been a good boy who was expected to continue his studies.
He said an Israeli officer had called and demanded the villagers remove a mourning tent, and they complied and took it down.
Sayid called for coexistence with Jews, but complained about a shortage of funding or his village, which lacks many basic amenities. He mentioned a dispute with the state over land ownership there.
In the town of Hura right across the road, a worker at the gas station told the Post
that Beduin serve in the army and are loyal to the state. “This was an isolated incident” and has nothing to do with the people of Hura, he said.
Talal al-Krenawi, mayor of the Beduin city of Rahat, told the Post on Monday that he condemned the attack and that the Beduin want peace.
“This criminal attack is not acceptable to us,” he declared.
Krenawi said it is strange that such an incident would be related to the al-Uqbis “a good family without a history of involvement in terrorism.”
Asked whether Munahad could have been radicalized over the Internet, Krenawi referred to reports of extremist content that had been posted on the terrorist’s Facebook page, but added that a final conclusion would have to wait until the investigation is completed.
“These attacks have created unease in the Beduin community,” Krenawi said. “We want coexistence here and to keep it this way and prevent any violence.”