Israeli crowd beat Eritrean migrant mistakenly identified as Palestinian shooter

Israeli crowd beat Eritrean migrant mistakenly identified as Palestinian shooter

Israeli crowd beat Eritrean migrant mistakenly identified as Palestinian shooter

Written by Staff Writer

19 Oct, 2015 | 9:49 pm

An Eritrean migrant mistaken for as a Palestinian gunman in the midst of a shooting attack was shot by Israeli security forces and then beaten by passers-by, witnesses said, died of his injuries, the hospital said on Monday (October 19).

In a sign of Israeli alarm over a surge in Palestinian attacks on Israelis, video footage obtained by Reuters showed the man lying on the ground bleeding, with armed paramilitary police surrounding him, in an apparent effort to protect him from several people who broke the loose cordon and kicked him in the head several times.

The beating took place on Sunday (October 19), when an Arab gunman went on a shooting rampage at the central bus station in the southern Israeli city Beersheba, killing a soldier and wounding at least ten other people.

Police had initially said two gunmen carried out the attack and later said one man shot by security forces was misidentified as an assailant. The gunman who did carry out the attack was a Bedouin from southern Israel and was shot dead at the scene, police said.

Video from the scene showed the Eritrean man was shot before being beaten and witnesses on Israeli radio confirmed this.

Nitza Neuman-Heiman, Deputy Director General of Soroka Medical Center, told Army Radio he died of both gunshot wounds and the injuries he sustained.

Sagi Malachi, the man’s employer identified him as Mila Abtum, an agricultural worker, and described him as a quiet, modest man. He said he had travelled to Beersheba to renew his visa.

Forty-two Palestinians and eight Israelis have died in the one of the worst outbreaks of violence in years, which was in part triggered by Palestinians’ anger over what they see as increased Jewish encroachment on Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has said he seeks no change to the decades-old status quo at the holy compound, which is also revered by Jews as the site where two biblical temples once stood.

To boost security, Israel has poured hundreds of troops into its cities and set up roadblocks in Palestinian neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem, a move condemned by the Palestinians as collective punishment.

Israel captured East Jerusalem along with the West Bank and Gaza in the 1967 Middle east war and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. Palestinians want it as the capital of a future state.

Israel has said it is its indivisible, eternal capital.

Netanyahu is expected to meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Germany in the coming week as part of an effort by Washington to restore calm. Kerry also plans to hold talks in the Middle East with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but no precise location has been announced.

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