It seemed to be an open and shut case: On Wednesday morning, close to 8 a.m., a Palestinian working illegally in Jaffa panicked when he was caught by police and tried to grab an officer's gun, which fired, killing the worker.
But a few hours later, the simple story changed as the policeman confessed that in fact he had shot and killed the worker, who had not provoked him.
The incident occurred as members of the Border Police's Ofir Unit were conducting an operation to apprehend Palestinians illegally working in the area surrounding Jaffa's flea market. The unit is currently stationed in Tel Aviv in order to enforce the police presence in the city.
For reasons still unclear, one of the members of the unit, a 19-year-old border policeman, cocked his weapon which fired, killing the Palestinian worker. MDA personnel pronounced the worker dead on the scene.
The man who was killed, a 29-year-old from Tarkumiya near Hebron, worked at a nearby construction site. Neither he nor his brother who was working with him had permits to work in Israel.
Investigation into the shooting was immediately turned over to the Justice Ministry's Police Investigative Division (PID). PID investigators gathered both material evidence and eyewitness testimony at the scene of the shooting.
The policeman whose gun fired initially told investigators that the Palestinian had attacked him, trying to take his weapon. In the course of the scuffle the gun went off shooting the worker, the policeman claimed.
But eyewitnesses reports and physical evidence led investigators to conclude the story was false. Under questioning, the policeman admitted to cocking his weapon although neither the Palestinian worker nor his companions had given him reason to do so.
He was released to house arrest.
Sources in the PID said that the investigation was already in the advanced stages and that the evidence indicated illegal use of a firearm resulting in the worker's death.
The investigation is expected to be completed soon, at which point the PID will turn the evidence over to the State Prosecutors Office to prepare a case against the policeman.
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