Israeli Gunman Kills Four at Bank Hapoalim Before Suicide

May 20 (Bloomberg) -- A gunman opened fire inside a branch of Israel’s Bank Hapoalim Ltd. in the desert city of Beersheba and killed four people before committing suicide, police said.

The incident was first described by senior police commanders as an attempted robbery by two suspects. Investigators later found only one gunman was involved, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said today. Israel Radio reported that the gunman had previously been refused a loan.

Bank Hapoalim issued a statement of condolence for those killed. A bank spokeswoman declined further comment. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the shooting a “great tragedy” in remarks broadcast on Israel Radio.

The shooter in today’s incident was an Israeli in his 40s, Rosenfeld said, declining to disclose his name. Those killed included the Bank Hapoalim branch manager as well as another employee, while three people were injured in the shooting, Israel Radio said. Beersheba, 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Tel Aviv, is the biggest city in Israel’s southern desert region and has a population of about 200,000.

“There are still a number of unknowns,” Rosenfeld said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Ferziger in Tel Aviv at jferziger@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net