Beersheba bus station on edge, security under scrutiny day after attack

Shop owner: There is no security here; station manager: security is very high

Blood at the scene where terrorist was shot at the Beersheba central bus station on October 18, 2015 (photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
Blood at the scene where terrorist was shot at the Beersheba central bus station on October 18, 2015
(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
People were visibly on edge and blaming the building’s supposed lack of security a day after Sunday’s deadly terrorist attack at the central bus station in Beersheba.
Shop owners and workers in the station told The Jerusalem Post they thought that security has long been inadequate.
On Monday the alertness level was very high with many police and other security agents deployed around the station.
Brothers Evyatar and Snir, who own the Xoya sushi bar that opened a couple of weeks ago, said their safety concerns were so great that they hired a private guard.
Asked about the level of security prior to the attack, Evyatar replied, “What security, there is no security here.”
This attack “has killed business,” said Snir, predicting it would take much time for customers to return.
As Snir spoke, a soldier made a shouting noise while joking with a woman nearby and everyone jumped up as if another attack was under way, relieved once they saw the smiling soldier’s face.
Another shop owner, who did not want to be identified so as not to hurt relations with the station’s security, said the fact that mostly Beduin were in charge of security was worrying.
The station’s head of security is a respected Beduin veteran army officer from Hura. Many of the guards are also Beduin, he and other shop owners told the Post.
“You can’t trust them,” said the shop owner, adding that Beduin are frequently involved in theft from the station’s shops. He went on to accuse the Beduin security guards of allowing their fellow Beduin to pass through without proper checks.
Sigal Klassen, who works at a juice bar, said that she was working when the attack took place and was terrified to come back to work the day after. She said that her boss had to convince her to return.
Klassen, who has worked in the station for a year, also thought that security in the station was poor.
A worker at a pizza shop remarked that there is much more security today, but “the question is what it will be tomorrow.” A customer, overhearing the conversation, argued that the attack was not the Beduin security manager’s fault since he was not present at the entrance at the time.
Orit Katz, the general manager of the bus station, refuted accusations that station security was poor. She told the Post in an interview that “security is very high” and that what occurred was likely due to a mistake.
“An attack could happen anywhere,” she said, adding that before speculating we should first wait for the conclusion of the investigation.
She said it was unclear how the terrorist got into the building, raising the option that he may have come from a passenger entrance where the buses are located rather than a station door facing the street.
Katz said security responded swiftly and helped stop the attack very quickly.
Asked about local businesses that worry about the slow traffic in the station, she replied she expected business would get back to normal.
Katz denied accusations about a theft problem in the station, saying there is a minimal amount just like in other shopping areas.
It appeared that the majority of the station’s traffic was made up of soldiers.
One soldier sitting in a chair with his gun in his lap and glancing around, said that he was being more vigilant than usual.