Five people died in a bungled bank robbery before the gunman took his own life in southern Israel this afternoon.

The robbers struck at a branch of Bank Hapoalim in the southern city of Beersheba at about 2pm local time.

One of the robbers was reportedly barricaded inside the bank with one female hostage, before shooting himself.

 
A woman hostage is evacuated by Israeli security forces following a bank robbery that escalated into a hostage situation in the Israeli city of Beersheva. Five people, including the gunman, were killed

A woman hostage is evacuated by Israeli security forces following a bank robbery that escalated into a hostage situation in the Israeli city of Beersheva. Five people, including the gunman, were killed

 

 
The woman, who was held hostage by the robber, is rushed to safety by a security man in body armour

The woman, who was held hostage by the robber, is rushed to safety by a security man in body armour

 

 
The distressed hostage is comforted by medical workers. Witnesses reported hearing gunfire during the siege, while a local school went into lockdown

The distressed hostage is comforted by medical workers. Witnesses reported hearing gunfire during the siege, while a local school went into lockdown

 Three men and a woman were reported among those dead.

Witnesses reported volleys of gunfire, and a nearby school went into lockdown. During the standoff, police apprehended one of the robbers, but the other remained holed up in the bank with at least one hostage, who later emerged unscathed.

‘Four people have been killed and the robber apparently shot himself dead. The scene is now clear,’ regional police commander Yoram Levy told Israel Radio after his forces raided the bank.

 
Israeli security gather outside the bank following the bungled, and ultimately tragic, heist

Israeli security gather outside the bank following the bungled, and ultimately tragic, heist

 

 
Several more people were injured in the attack

Several more people were injured in the attack

Israeli media reports said three bank employees and a customer were among the dead.

Witnesses said at least three people were injured, including one in critical condition from an upper-body wound and two suffering from shock.

One of the injured men was evacuated to Soroka Medical Center to undergo surgery.

City of horror: Beersheba, in Southern Israel, where four people have been killed in a botched bank robbery

City of horror: Beersheba, in Southern Israel, where four people have been killed in a botched bank robbery

 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been informed of the tragedy

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been informed of the tragedy

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has informed of the incident.

According to Channel 2, authorities said the two assailants were residents of the Beduin village of Rahat.

Violent bank heists are rare in Israel. In 2011, a robber killed a security guard in a bank in the centre of the country.

 
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