old city murder 298.88.
(photo credit: Ahmad Gharbali)
A yeshiva security guard in the Old City of Jerusalem shot and killed Ahmed Mahmoud Khatib, 29, from Kafr Manda in the Western Galilee on Friday morning after he shot and moderately wounded another guard, police said.
The incident began when Khatib grabbed the pistol of a security guard walking in the Christian Quarter, by the Latin Patriarchate near Jaffa Gate, and shot him in the chest, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said.
A second security guard gave chase and then killed Khatib, witnesses said.
Ten passersby were lightly to moderately wounded in the crossfire, mostly by ricochets. They comprised six Jews, two Armenians and two Muslims. The two security guards are employed by the nearby Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva.
"Two men were shooting and I was shouting and screaming," said Shoshan Ishanyan, 11, of Ma'aleh Adumim. "It was very scary." She was whisked away from the scene of the attack by her father.
Magen David Adom paramedics rushed the victims to three Jerusalem hospitals.
An unidentified Arab eyewitness told Israel Radio the guards continued shooting at the assailant after he was on the ground, in what is known as "confirming the kill."
"I saw the wounded man on the ground wasn't moving at all. I didn't see anything in his hands. I saw two security guards continuing to shoot at the man," he said.
But after examining footage from closed circuit TV tapes, police said the wounded security guard never shot Khatib and that his partner had acted appropriately and professionally, rejecting as "baseless rumors" statements made by MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL) that the guard had continued shooting the assailant even after he was dead.
Israel Police chief Insp.-Gen. David Cohen praised the quick reaction of the security personnel as "exemplary."
"The terrorist wanted to carry out an attack, and that was why he snatched one of the guards' weapons. The guards acted in an exemplary manner, as is required," Cohen said.
Tibi slammed Cohen for lauding the behavior of the security guard.
"Praise for an act in which innocent bystanders were killed and in which 'confirming the kill' was carried out is shocking and encourages further harm to innocents," Tibi said.
MK Arye Eldad (NU-NRP) blamed the attack on the concessions made by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to the Palestinians. "The first terrorist attack in Jerusalem in two years is apparently a direct result of Olmert declaring his willingness to create a Palestinian state in most of Judea and Samaria and to divide Jerusalem," Eldad said.
Several hours after the attack, his body was removed from the scene in a bag labeled "the terrorist" in Hebrew.
Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski said that the city would not capitulate to attempts to undermine its security.
By early afternoon, the narrow cobblestone alleyways of the Old City were once again packed with tourists, and the pool of blood left on the shop-lined street where the gunman's body lay had been washed away.
Khatib was a father of one, and his wife is pregnant.
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.