Guard who killed Jewish man at Kotel says he feared for his life

By REUTERS
June 21, 2013 07:53

Police say guard suspected the man was a Palestinian terrorist because he shouted "God is greatest" in Arabic.

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Security forces wheel the body bag of the man shot Friday morning at the Western Wall.

bodybag of J'lem Kotel shooting 370. (photo credit:Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

An Israeli security guard shot dead a fellow Israeli on Friday at Judaism's holiest site, saying later he feared the man was a Palestinian terrorist because he had shouted "Allahu akbar" ("God is greatest" in Arabic), police said.

The court extended his remand by five days after the shooting at a restroom next to Jerusalem's Western Wall. The body of the victim, named Doron Ben-Shalush, 46, was found with 10 bullet holes.

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Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Ben-Shalush had been pronounced dead at the scene. He said the guard told investigators he had suspected the man was a Palestinian terrorist, and feared for his life.

"The fact he shouted Allahu akbar, that seems to be why the security guard drew his weapon and fired a number of shots at him," Rosenfeld said, adding that the incident was still under investigation and there was a gag order on some details.

Israeli media said it was not clear why the guard had not fired first in the air, as rules of engagement normally demand.

The shooting took place as hundreds of worshipers gathered for prayer in one of Jerusalem's most sensitive areas. Police shut down the Western Wall for several hours after the shooting.

The Western Wall abuts what is known to Jews as Temple Mount and to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif. A flashpoint for Israeli-Palestinian tensions, Jews revere it as the site of two Biblical temples. It houses Islam's third holiest mosque, al-Aqsa.

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