Soldier killed in terror attack identified as Omri Levy, 19
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Soldier killed in terror attack identified as Omri Levy, 19

Eritrean migrant mistaken for Beersheba terrorist dies of wounds after being shot in the head, beaten by bystanders

Sergeant Omri Levi, 19, killed in a Beersheba terror attack, October 18, 2015. (Courtesy)
Sergeant Omri Levi, 19, killed in a Beersheba terror attack, October 18, 2015. (Courtesy)

The soldier killed Sunday evening in a terror attack in Beersheba was identified by the army as Omri Levy, 19, of Sde Hemed. His family was notified.

Meanwhile, officials at Soroka hospital in Beersheba said the Eritrean asylum seeker shot after being mistaken for a terrorist during the attack at Beersheba’s central bus station had succumbed to his wounds. The man was later named as Haftom Zarhum, 29.

Police opened an investigation in the shooting of Zarhum. Amateur footage (Warning: Graphic images) of the moments following the attack shows a crowd of bystanders beating and kicking him as he lies in a pool of blood, apparently in the mistaken belief he was one of the attackers.

Nearly a dozen were said wounded in the terror attack, including one soldier seriously and three other soldiers lightly.

Police and rescue workers at the scene of shooting and stabbing attack at the Central Bus Station in the southern city of Beersheba, on October 18, 2015. (Meir Even Haim/Flash90)
Police and rescue workers at the scene of shooting and stabbing attack at the Central Bus Station in the southern city of Beersheba, on October 18, 2015. (Meir Even Haim/Flash90)

According to an initial police investigation, a Palestinian assailant stabbed a soldier and stole his firearm, then opened fire on the crowded bus terminal. The unidentified man was then shot and killed by responding forces after holing up in a bathroom.

During the confusion of the attack, two officers — one from an anti-terrorism unit and another from the Border Police — mistook the Eritrean national for a second gunman and shot him in the head.

Security camera footage showing an alleged attacker being shot in the Beersheba central bus station on October 18, 2015. (screen capture: Channel 2)
Security camera footage showing an alleged attacker being shot in the Beersheba central bus station on October 18, 2015. (screen capture: Channel 2)

“We’re talking about a very serious terror attack that could have resulted in severe consequences if it weren’t for the resourcefulness and the quick response of security forces,” Beersheba Mayor Rubik Danielovitch told Channel 2 after the attack.

“I appeal to residents: I understand the storm of emotions, but specifically now, we must practice restraint, be balanced and act calmly. Do not take the law into your own hands,” he urged.

Police said a man, thought to be Palestinian, entered the bus station armed with a pistol and knife, stabbed and killed the 19-year-old Levi and wounded 11 others, including four other soldiers and four police officers.

Gadi Abuchatzeira, deputy head of the Magen David Adom Negev Region, said emergency workers responding to the attack found a number of injured, all of them in their 20s, inside the bus station.

“We arrived at the scene en masse and spread throughout the station to look for other victims. We did a triage and began giving lifesaving treatment. Two of them had wounds to their upper bodies, they were unconscious,” Abuchatzeira said.

“Four of the injured were fully conscious in moderate condition and suffering from gunshot wounds to the torso and legs. A woman was also injured with a gunshot wound to the limbs,” he continued.

The evening attack in the southern city was the first in what had been a quiet day, following a weekend that saw seven stabbings or stabbing attempts in Jerusalem, Hebron and elsewhere, amid a spate of attacks by Palestinians terrorists in recent weeks.

Adiv Sterman and Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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