Israel: Innocent migrant shot and lynched ‘by mistake’

Around 2000 partisipants took part in an Arab-Israeli demostration for peace in the center of Jerusalem. Picture: Getty
Around 2000 partisipants took part in an Arab-Israeli demostration for peace in the center of Jerusalem. Picture: Getty
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AN ERITREAN migrant has died after being shot by an Israeli security guard and then attacked by bystanders who mistook him for an assailant in a fatal bus station attack.

The mistaken shooting of the migrant, identified as Mulu Habtom Zerhom, reflects nervousness among Israelis after months of seemingly random lone-wolf attacks by Palestinians.

Foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said: “It’s terrible. It shows you what a terrible situation we are in.” The daily newspaper Yediot Ahronot included the headline “Just because of his skin colour”.

Dr Nitza Neuman-Heiman, deputy general director of Soroka Medical Centre, told Army Radio that Zerhom arrived at the hospital in “very serious condition” and died late on Sunday from gunshot wounds and injuries sustained during attacks by bystanders. The hospital said he suffered gunshots to the abdomen.

The attack, at the central bus station in the southern city of Beersheba, was among the bloodiest in a month-long wave of violence. A 19-year-old Israeli soldier was killed and nine people were wounded when an Arab assailant armed with a gun and knife opened fire.

Israeli news websites posted security camera footage that shows Zerhom, crawling on the floor and a security guard shooting him. Footage also showed a mob of shouting Israelis crowded around the man. The man was attacked as an Israeli officer and some bystanders tried to protect him.

Police are seeking to arrest Israeli civilians who “aggressively beat” and kicked the Eritrean man “while he lay on the floor and posed no threat,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.

Nine Israelis and the Eritrean have been killed in a wave of shootings and stabbings.