Palestinian man shot dead in disputed circumstances near Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa compound
By Abeer Salman, CNN
A Palestinian man was shot and killed by Israeli police early on Saturday at the entrance to the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, frequently a flashpoint in tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.
Palestinian and Israeli sources disputed the circumstances that led to the killing of 26-year-old Muhammad Al-Osaibi at the compound, home to one of Islam’s most revered sites but also the holiest site in Judaism, known as the Temple Mount.
A former Israeli lawmaker, Talab Al-Sanee, said Al-Osaibi was killed after he tried to intervene when he saw Israeli police and border guards assaulting a young Palestinian woman.
Israeli police said the man had grabbed a gun from a police officer who had stopped him for questioning and managed to fire two shots before he was killed by police.
Social media video apparently filmed at the time of the incident captured the sound of at least 11 gunshots — the first one followed almost immediately by nine in quick succession, then another one after a moment’s pause.
Al-Osaibi’s family asked police to release security camera footage of the incident to prove “the allegations that their son pulled a soldier’s weapon.”
Police initially said there was no footage of the incident, but after CNN provided evidence that security cameras were pointed at the scene they altered their story.
“We collected all footage of the surrounding area for investigation,” a spokesperson said. “Some footage might not be shared with media because it’s still closed for investigation.”
The incident came in the middle of Ramadan, which has passed largely peacefully in Jerusalem. The first two Fridays of the Muslim holy month have seen hundreds of thousands of worshippers offer prayers at al-Aqsa without incident.
A large group of Muslim worshippers staged a mass prayer outside the holy site Saturday after the incident, video from the scene showed.
Local authorities in Al-Osaibi’s native region of Rahat in the Negeb called for a general strike on Sunday in response to the killing.
And Palestinian Authority presidency spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh warned in a statement against what he described as “the dangerous escalation by the Israeli occupation authorities,” calling the Israeli version of the killing of Al-Osaibi “fabricated.”
The relative calm of Ramadan comes after a violent beginning to the year in Israel and the occupied West Bank.
At least 90 Palestinians have been killed, according to Palestinian Ministry of Health statistics. In addition to suspected militants being targeted by Israeli forces, the dead include Palestinians killing, wounding or attempting to kill Israeli civilians, people clashing with Israeli security and bystanders, CNN records show.
In the same period, at least 15 Israelis have been killed in attacks by Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank, CNN records show — 14 civilians and a police officer who was hit by friendly fire after being stabbed by a Palestinian teenager while inspecting bus passengers.
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