Little girl attacked by clown in southern Israel

Does the spur of clown-related crime have anything to do with the remake of "IT"?

Clowns in Afula (photo credit: Courtesy)
Clowns in Afula
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A ten-year-old girl was attacked by a clown who sprayed her with mace in the Nahal Ashen neighborhood in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba on Tuesday.
According to the child's mother, the girl went to the neighborhood park to play with friends only to return to her home moments later complaining of an itch in her eyes.
She said she was attacked by two clowns who sprayed her with something. Her parents called an ambulance. Upon inspection at the hospital, it was found she was also suffering from burns on her neck.
The child’s father, Amir Zagdon, searched for the clowns, who were thought to be teenage boys, but did not locate them.
This is the most recent event in Israel in which clowns were seen or reported. The clowns usually attempt to alarm strangers and authorities are at a loss to explain this odd new trend.
Teenagers were arrested in Rishon LeZion, 12-year-old children were arrested in Dimona, as well as a young adult in Ramla – all were dressed as clowns and all were actively harassing strangers.
Channel 2 on Tuesday aired footage of a minor who dressed up like a clown in Yavne. "I am the Yavne clown," said the boy. "I do it because it's boring [in Yavne] I am not into killing people, only into scaring children."
Police official Boaz Hamami, who was also interviewed for the Channel 2 report, said that the danger is two-fold: to the people who are panicked by the clowns, and for the clowns themselves, who might end up being shot by security or worried citizens who might respond with violence at the sight of a clown attacking children.    
This trend seems to be unrelated to the horror novel It by Steven King, despite suspicions to the contrary.
The novel was originally published in 1986 and a new adaptation was recently released. The film is being screened in Israel and elsewhere, but this new alarming trend seems to be completely disconnected from the film. 
Clown sightings also occurred in the US, Canada, Italy, and other countries in the summer of 2016. The producers of It denied any connection to the slew of clown-related crime, saying that this is not a promotion stunt for the movie.
Stephen King himself asked people not to overreact to clowns in the real world, saying most clowns are good. But those who are suffering from coulrophobia (fear of clowns) are not convinced.

Zagdon, the father of the child in Beersheba, said, "I suggest everyone just knock it off, we have enough [to deal with] in the tense reality we live in [in Israel]."