Four people were killed and three others wounded in a botched bank heist in southern Israel which ended when a robber who had held a hostage shot himself dead, police said.
"The woman hostage walked out of the bank after the robber shot and killed himself. She was taken for medical treatment" in a hospital in Beersheva, the Negev city where the robbery took place, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.
"Four people were killed besides the robber, and three others were wounded. As far as we're concerned, the event is over."
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The suicide took place after a special anti-terror police unit broke into the bank, police said. The area remained cordoned off, and army radio was reporting that sounds of explosions were coming from the bank.
Southern police commander Yoram Halevi said they were not yet sure if they were dealing with one or more robbers. In an interview with army radio he did not rule out that one of the four fatalities could have been a robber.
Former Israel police commissioner Assaf Hefetz told army radio this was the most violent and fatal bank robbery he could recall happening in Israel.
"I can't remember a bank robbery that ended with four fatalities," he said.