Suspect killed after firing at police in Rahat

Rahat Mayor Fayez Abu Sahiban denied on Monday morning that the person who was killed had shot at police.

 Gun used in shooting in Rahat, March 15, 2022 (photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
Gun used in shooting in Rahat, March 15, 2022
(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)

An armed suspect was killed on Tuesday morning after firing at police special forces who were operating in Rahat in southern Israel, according to Israel Police. No police officers were wounded.

The police officers were in the city to arrest two suspects when shots were fired towards them. The officers responded with live fire and killed the assailant firing at them.

The assailant's weapon, as well as a magazine and ammunition, were found at the scene.

The Bedouin settlement of Rahat, South District of Israel. Rahat is the largest Bedouin settlement in Israel, and the only one to have the status of city.October 31 2010. (credit: YOSSI ZAMIR/FLASH90)The Bedouin settlement of Rahat, South District of Israel. Rahat is the largest Bedouin settlement in Israel, and the only one to have the status of city.October 31 2010. (credit: YOSSI ZAMIR/FLASH90)

Rahat Mayor Fayez Abu Sahiban denied on Monday morning that the person who was killed had shot at police.

"We want the police to arrest people who possess illegal weapons, but this morning's assassination is obscene," said Sahiban to KAN news. "I hope this does not get to riots. Residents tell me that the young man who was killed happened to be at the scene and was not connected to the shooting."

Israel Police Chief Kobi Shabtai expressed support for the Border Police who operated in Rahat, Balata and Kalandiya, where three suspects were shot and killed by police, saying that police officers are working "in all sectors in the face of terrorism that seeks to harm civilians and members of the security forces."

"These operations are a sharp and clear message to anyone who seeks to harm our forces," said Shabtai. 

The police chief stressed that while police are working to conduct talks and calm the situation ahead of the events and holidays coming soon, "we will not hesitate to act in the face of any threat with the determination required of Israeli police forces and police officers. That is how we acted and that is how we will continue to act."

The Abraham Initiatives organization called on the Department of Internal Police Investigations to conduct an independent, prompt and exhaustive investigation of the incident.

"Determined action by the police to eradicate violence and crime in Arab communities is important and should continue, but wisely and prudently and with the careful use of force," said the organization. "It is not conceivable that such an activity would end in the result of the killing of civilians."

Some 18 Arabs have been killed in violent incidents and crime in Israel since the beginning of 2022, according to the Abraham Initiatives.