As the investigation into the terrorist attack in Be'er Sheva continues, one conclusion has already been reached -- the policy of confiscating the weapon belonging to a civilian who fired on a terrorist will be adapted.
Since his release from prison, the terrorist who killed four people in Be'er Sheva on Tuesday, Muhammad Abu-al-Qi'an, was under the supervision of the GSS (Shabak) and there were allegedly no warning signs that he was planning to carry out an attack. According to Channel 12 News, al-Qi'an's views had even undergone "moderation" since a previous conviction.
Meanwhile, Israel Police has set up a special investigative team that will examine the police protocol in such incidents. Among the questions to be answered is why it took so long for security forces to grasp the extent of the incident. Initial reports referred to a suspected assault, or a brawl or violence -- only after four minutes had passed did the report of a terrorist attack filter through. The investigative team will submit its findings in the coming days to the Southern District Police Chief.
One change that has already been decided upon is that of the protocol for a civilian who fires on a terrorist. Police came under intense criticism in this week's incident for confiscating the weapon of the bus driver who killed Abu al-Qi'an; attorney Adi Kedar of Honenu, who is representing the driver, Arthur Haimov, told media that:
"Police are refusing to return the firearm to the citizen who neutralized the terrorist despite his fears with his picture appearing [in all media outlets], and even his address revealed to the public.
"My client was shocked when he was told to hire a private security firm [if he was afraid for his wellbeing]. The disgraceful treatment of the police only reinforces the lack of deterrence they, themselves, have created. The situation is getting out of hand and we demand they return his weapon tonight," Kedar continued.
Police have now decided on a new procedure, whereby after taking the citizen's weapon for examination, the civilian shooter will be escorted by police to his home, and he will also be provided with an alternative weapon. The issue of temporary licensing will also have to be resolved.
According to a report in Channel 12 News, however, the new policy will only apply to civilian shooters who have actually neutralized terrorists.