A petition calling for the firing of MSNBC reporter Ayman Mohyeldin, who came under fire after suggesting Israeli police shot and killed an unarmed Palestinian man in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem last week, had garnered over 13,000 signatures by Tuesday. The petition was started over the weekend.
Bassel Sidar was shot dead outside of the Old City’s Damascus Gate in a failed stabbing attack. Border Police in the area identified a suspicious looking Arab man, a 19-year-old Hebron resident, wearing camouflaged clothing, sitting by the east Jerusalem gate’s entrance.
When police asked to search Sidar, for a weapon, he withdrew a knife from his pocket and charged the officers.
Mohyeldin, who was reporting live from near the Damascus gate, stated that he hadn't seen any stabbing attempt.
“He did not look to be particularly armed. Again, that was confirmed by the fact that the police ultimately removed his clothes,” the reporter added.
“[The police] didn’t find any explosive devices on him. I was trying to keep an eye to see if they were taking anything off of his body perhaps. If they took a gun…there was no gun that was visible. At one point, we can clearly see from where we were standing, from where his body was lying, his hands were open and both of his hands did not have knife,” he added.
Anchor Jose Diaz-Balart interrupted Mohyeldin as a picture flashed on screen of the terrorist and said, "But in the video that we have that you have… we can clearly see the man in camouflage t-shirt and pants with what appears to be at least in his right hand, a knife."
The picture featured a man matching the description of the terrorist holding a five inch black blade in his right hand, walking down the stairs.
Mohyeldin immediately backtracked on his statement, saying, "The point I was trying to make was that when they flipped the body over... it was at that point that his hands were empty."
Mohyeldin, and Egyptian-American journalist working for NBC out of Los Angeles, California, has previously worked for Al-Jazeera and CNN. He has been long criticized for having an anti-Israel bias.Daniel K. Eisenbud contributed to this report.
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