Knife-wielding man kills four people and seriously wounds two others in Beersheba city before being shot dead by armed residents, police say.

This is the third stabbing attack this week, according to Israeli media.
This is the third stabbing attack this week, according to Israeli media. (AP)

A man wielding a knife has stabbed several people and ran over another in southern Israel, with the prime minister promising a crackdown on "terrorists" after the incident which left four people dead and two seriously wounded.

The unrest at a gas station and outside a shopping centre in the southern city of Beersheba began shortly after 4:00 pm (1400 GMT), police and emergency medical responders said on Tuesday.

After arriving at the gas station, the assailant left his car and "stabbed a woman", according to police.

He then returned to his car and rammed it into a 60-year-old man on his bicycle outside the shopping centre. 

The suspect then left his car again and began stabbing others around the shopping centre, according to police and the Magen David Adom emergency medical response organisation.

Police said that "civilians who were at the scene fired (at the suspect) and neutralised him," without specifying the suspect's condition.

An MDA spokesman told the AFP news agency that four people had been killed.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's office said he held "a consultation with the minister of internal security and the commissioner of the police" following the attack.

He later praised those who shot the alleged assailant, saying they "showed resourcefulness and courage and prevented further casualties".

"Security forces are on high alert. We will work hard against terrorists. We will pursue them as well and those who help them," the Israeli premier tweeted.

READ MORE: Israeli police kill Palestinian man in alleged knife-attack

'Response to ethnic displacement policy'

Palestinian group Hamas released a statement that did not claim the attack but blamed it on Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

Speaking to a local radio station, group spokesman Hazem Qassem said the "operation is a response to the policy of ethnic displacement practiced by Israel against our Palestinian people inside the occupied territories".

Stabbing and car-ramming attacks, often by lone Palestinian assailants, are common in Israel.

But its southern region, including Beersheba, have recently been spared such violence, with much of it instead concentrated in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem or the occupied West Bank.

Recent unrest in the south has involved clashes between Israel's Bedouin community — part of Israel's 20 percent Arab minority –– and security forces. 

There were no immediate details from police on any possible affiliations of the presumed attacker. 

This is the third stabbing attack this week, according to Israeli media.

On Sunday, two police officers were injured in a stabbing attack in occupied east Jerusalem's Ras al-Amud neighbourhood.

On Saturday, a 35-year-old man was stabbed and lightly wounded on Hebron Road near the First Station in Jerusalem. 

READ MORE: New year, same occupation: Israel continues its violence in Sheikh Jarrah

Source: TRTWorld and agencies