Police suspect racial slur prompted Kotel shooting

Court extends remand of Hadi Kabalan from Druse town Beit Jann; police question security guard's initial story.

June 25, 2013 19:12
1 minute read.
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)

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday extended by five days the remand of the security guard who shot Doron Ben- Shalush to death at the Western Wall on Friday, and said the killing may have been the response to a racial slur.

It was originally thought the shooting may have been the result of a case of mistaken identity.

The court lifted a gag order on the identity of the shooter; he is 25-year-old Border Police officer Hadi Kabalan from the Druse village of Beit Jann in the Upper Galilee.

Kabalan says he shot Ben- Shalush several times because he thought he was a terrorist, but police suspect a verbal confrontation in which Ben-Shalush shouted a racial slur at Kabalan may have motivated the shooting.

Kabalan is being held for alleged manslaughter; however, he may be charged with murder when an indictment against him is filed.

Kabalan has said Ben- Shalush shouted “Allahu akbar” and reached into his pocket, thus leading him to believe that Ben-Shalush was a terrorist. However police now say Ben-Shalush may have yelled curses at Kabalan about his Druse heritage before the shooting.

At Kabalan’s previous remand hearing, the transcripts of which were released on Sunday, his lawyer bristled at the charges and the suggestion by the prosecution that his client, who has spent most of his career in various security services and with highly positive reviews, was a flight risk or might obstruct the investigation.

The lawyer added that the guard had never served in the Western Wall area before, contributing to his not recognizing Ben- Shalush, who was a regular in the area.

Ben-Shalush was hit by 10 bullets.

Kabalan was arrested following the shooting and appeared before the court on Friday afternoon, at which time a judge extended his remand by five days, pending further investigation, though the prosecution had sought 10 days.

The shooting occurred as hundreds gathered for prayer in one of the capital’s most secure areas.

Immediately following the violence, much of the Western Wall was shut down to visitors so police units could investigate the incident.

Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.

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