State prosecution closes probe into border police for shooting Palestinian attacker

The investigation into two border police officers who shot and killed an attacker has been dropped.

Israeli police officers stand guard outside the Damascus Gate, in Jerusalem, December 4, 2021. (photo credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)
Israeli police officers stand guard outside the Damascus Gate, in Jerusalem, December 4, 2021.
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)

State Attorney Amit Aisman on Thursday closed the probe of two border police officials for shooting and killing a Palestinian attacker this past Saturday, finding all charges to be groundless.

Aisman accepted the Police Investigations Department conclusion that there was no inconsistency in the testimony of the two border police officials and that their actions had matched the rules of engagement.

According to Aisman, in each of the three rounds in which the border police officials shot Mohammed Shawkat Salima, who perpetrated a stabbing attack at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, he still possessed a knife and still presented a threat, despite some videos appearing to show him lying helpless on the ground after being shot a first and second time.

The outcome was foreshadowed already on Sunday when the two officers were given their weapons back after an interrogation by the Justice Ministry’s Police Investigation Department (PID).

Border Police Commander Amir Cohen met on Sunday with the officers, L.-Cpl. “S” and St.-Sgt.-Maj. ‘“L,” praising their quick-thinking at the scene of the stabbing attack and ordered their reinstatement to operational activities.

Israel Border Police officers stand guard at the Damascus Gate (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)Israel Border Police officers stand guard at the Damascus Gate (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

“You acted with determination, quick-thinking and professionalism to prevent the terrorist from harming you and other civilians in the area,” Cohen told the officers. “You prevented a completely different ending to the incident, thanks to your actions.”

At Sunday’s cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett reaffirmed his support for the two Border Police officers, after they were criticized for shooting the assailant dead at the scene.

“I recommend to everyone: Never hurry to pass judgment on a combatant’s behavior in complex operational terror situations on the ground,” Bennett said.

“In any case, the video leaves no room for doubt; the fighters responded exceptionally well, exactly as they are expected to do in such situations.

“They deserve full appreciation and support from all of us, to those who prevented murder and acted with operational resourcefulness within seconds,” the prime minister added.

The victim stabbed by Salima, a 20-year-old haredi (ultra-orthodox) man, had been hospitalized at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

On Saturday, the hospital stated that he was suffering from stab wounds in his back and neck, but was in stable condition.

Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.