Man shot dead outside al-Aqsa mosque after grabbing Israeli officer’s gun
Jerusalem, Apr 1 (EFE).- Israeli police shot dead an Arab-Israeli man after he allegedly snatched an officer’s gun and fired it, police said on Saturday.
The incident occurred on Friday night near al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem after police detained the suspect for questioning,
The police said the 26-year-old was from Bedouin in southern Israel.
Israeli has tightened security in the area and kept its forces on alert for the holy month of Ramadan as Muslims gather in the evenings to break their fasts in the mosque compound.
During Ramadan, the Israeli authorities allow Palestinian women, children up to 12, and men over 55 from the West Bank to arrive in Jerusalem for Friday prayers in the mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam.
The sensitive period has led to escalations of tension in the volatile region in the past.
Some 250,000 Muslim men and women had gathered in the compound for Friday’s noon prayers.
A police spokesperson said that thousands of Palestinians from Jerusalem, the occupied West Bank, and the rest of Israel walked through the streets of Old Jerusalem on Friday night.
Officers stopped “a suspect for questioning” near one of the gates to the al-Aqsa compound.
The man assaulted the officer examining him, seized his weapon, and fired it.
The suspect was neutralized on the spot and declared dead.
It was the first deadly incident in Jerusalem since Ramadan began just over a week ago.
Before the fatal shooting, the first ten days of the holy month were quiet, without any big incidents.
It follows spiraling violence between Israelis and Palestinians since the beginning of the year.
At least 85 Palestinians, including 16 children, have been killed this year, an average of more than one per day, following military operations, Palestinian-led attacks, and clashes with Israeli troops, the deadliest start to the year in the West Bank since 2000.
On the Israeli side, 14 people died in 2023.
Israel took control of East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967 and has occupied and colonized these territories ever since. EFE