State: Alleged Kotel shooter had prior run-in with victim

Prosecution says Hadi Kablan had previously met victim, potentially negating defense that he didn't recognize Doron Ben-Shalush, confused him with being a terrorist.

J'lem Kotel shooting 390 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
J'lem Kotel shooting 390
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The prosecution told the Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday that the alleged “Kotel shooter,” Hadi Kabalan, had previously met his victim, potentially negating the defense that he might have confused him with being a Muslim terrorist.
As part of a debate between the prosecution and the defense about reducing the number of witnesses for trial and which witnesses were vital, the prosecution told judges Zvi Segal, Ben-Zion Greenberger and Arnon Darel that the prior, tense, run-in between the two proved that Kabalan had murdered Doron Ben-Shalush in cold blood.
Kabalan is accused of shooting and killing Ben-Shalush at the Western Wall on June 21.
The indictment, filed on July 4, said Kabalan and another guard checked Ben- Shalush at the security checkpoint when he arrived at the Western Wall area, as he did on a daily basis.
After the check, Ben- Shalush yelled at the two security guards and used a racial slur against them for being Druse, the indictment stated.
The security guards continued their work, during which Kabalan asked two other guards if they would give him NIS 1,000 if he killed Ben-Shalush, the indictment alleged.
According to the indictment, when Ben-Shalush walked by the checkpoint later, Kabalan followed him and when he was only meters away opened fire.
Kabalan fired at the center of Ben- Shalush’s body 14 times, noted the indictment, while coming closer and closer to him, and did not stop firing until his magazine was empty.
The police originally thought the shooting may have been the result of a case of mistaken identity.
Kabalan had said he shot Ben- Shalush to death because the 46-year-old shouted “Allahu akbar” and reached into his pocket, thus leading him to believe that Ben-Shalush was a terrorist.
The court will start hearing witnesses’ testimonies on February 26.