Eritrean Shot, Beaten to Death by ‘Mistake’

19 October, 2015

An Eritrean died after being shot by an Israeli security guard and then beaten by a crowd of bystanders Sunday.

Videotape showed an Israeli security guard shooting Mulu Habtom Zerhom as he crawled on the ground. The news sites reported that bystanders then kicked and beat Mr. Zerhom as he lay in a pool of blood.

Israeli police say Mr. Zerhom was shot after a Palestinian man stabbed and killed an Israeli soldier. The knifeman wounded 10 other people in that attack. It occurred at a bus station in the southern city of Beersheba.

Wounded Israeli policeman is evacuated from the scene of an attacked in Beersheba, Israel, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015.  ( AP Photo/Dudu Grunshpan)
Wounded Israeli policeman is evacuated from the scene of an attacked in Beersheba, Israel, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015. ( AP Photo/Dudu Grunshpan)

Police say Mr. Zerhom, a migrant from Eritrea, was shot by a security guard after he was mistaken for a second attacker. As he lay on the ground, a mob of people cursed him, kicked him, and hit him with objects.

Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, condemned the beating death of the Eritrean agricultural worker, who was in his 20s.

The killing comes at a time of panic and anger after several confrontations and attacks between Palestinians and Israelis. Mr. Netanyahu's right-wing government has increased military presence in Israeli and Palestinian areas. His government has encouraged Israeli civilians to carry guns.

Mr. Netanyahu told members of his Likud Party on Monday that "No one should take the law into their own hands." He also said that Israel is a "law abiding" country. He offered condolences to the man's family.

Police say they are reviewing security camera video to catch the people who beat Mr. Zerhom.

Israeli security officials identified the assailant of the Beersheba bus station attack as a 21-year-old Arab-Israeli citizen. A police spokeswoman says the attacker was from the Bedouin town of Hura. Reports said the attacker had no past record of involvement with militants.

The recent attacks have resulted in the deaths of eight Israelis and 41 Palestinians, and now, one Eritrean.

U.S. called for restraint

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for restraint Monday. He is scheduled to meet with Mr. Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas individually.

Mr. Kerry said, "we want to see calm restored and we want to see the violence stop. And I think everybody in Israel and in the region would like to see both of those things happen."

A Palestinian holding Palestinian flags stands on a burning car belonging to Jewish settlers after it was set on fire by Palestinians in the West Bank city of Nablus, Oct. 18, 2015.

Palestinians and Israelis are clashing over territory and holy sites. Israeli settlements continue to expand into the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The disputed, or occupied territory, is the main conflict between the two sides.

Palestinian Muslims say Israelis are encroaching on the Al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem. It is their third-most holy site and was built in around the year 700. It is also known as the Dome of the Rock.

Religious Jews refer to it as Temple Mount for a temple razed there in the year 70 . By law, Jews are not allowed to pray there. But over the past year, it has been visited by religious Jews who want to regain the site. That has led to increased tension and violence.

Secretary Kerry said Monday that Israel has made it clear to him that they have no intention of changing the rules of who can and cannot worship at the holy site.

Israel is blaming Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, and a group called the Islamic Movement of inciting young people to riot. Palestinians say they are fed up with the small outlook for peace, lack of economic opportunity and the Jewish settlement in the lands they want for a future state.

I'm Anne Ball.

Chris Hannas reported on this story for Anne Ball adapted this story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.


Words in This Story

cursed – v. to want something bad to happen to someone or something

crawled – v. to move along on the ground

encroaching – v. to come closer, to take over, to push boundaries

razed – v. to knock down, to flatten

intention – n. something someone plans to do

inciting –v. to cause someone to act in an angry or harmful way

fed up phrase. have had enough

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