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Jerusalem – Ma’an – A report conducted by a Jerusalem rights center following the shooting death of a Palestinian man in East Jerusalem on Friday by Israeli border guards suggests he was shot point blank.
Ziad Al-Julani, 38, was shot and killed after he allegedly failed to stop at a checkpoint in the Wadi Joz neighborhood in the occupied part of the city.
According to testimony compiled by the Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights, an initial shot knocked Al-Julani to the floor, after which Israeli Special Forces “fired shots in the face and abdomen at close range.”
Witnesses said Friday he was in serious condition as he was taken to hospital, with Israeli news sites reporting that the man died en route.
Israeli media reports said the man drove toward border guards setting up in the neighborhood, crashed his pickup truck and fled on foot, at which point he was shot dead.
Sa’d Hamed As-Silwadi, from Silwan and the father of a child injured during the shoot-out, told the center he parked his car beside a butchery and saw Al-Julani driving toward the Al-Hadmi neighborhood in Wadi Joz, where he was killed.
He said he saw Al-Julani get out of his vehicle when he was first shot by Israeli forces. A relative of Al-Julani tried to help him, As-Silwadi said, but was kicked by Israeli forces. As-Silwadi returned to his vehicle to find his five-year-old child with a rubber bullet wound to the neck and head, and rushed him the Maqased Hospital on the Mount of Olives.
Ahmad Qutteneh told the center he saw Al-Julani running from four members of Israel’s Special Forces, approaching him and opening fire at close range. “Then I saw one of them come near him and shoot him in the face and body,” Qutteneh told the center.
Mahmud Othman Al-Julani, 34, his cousin, told the center that he was home when the incident happened, near the site of Al-Julani’s death, he said. “I went out of the house to see him laid on the floor, 15 meters away from me. When I tried to help him they [Israeli forces] beat me with sticks,” the center quoted him as saying.
Others told the center the shooter was seen “dancing beside the body singing and cheering ‘I killed an Arab, I killed an Arab’.”
The center called on Israeli authorities to investigate Al-Julani’s death.
A spokesman for Israel’s border guards did not immediately return calls seeking comment on the Jerusalem center’s report on Saturday.
On Friday, other testimony has the man speeding toward the hospital with an injured man in his truck. Two border guards were reportedly injured in the incident.
Following the shooting, clashes erupted in the area, with Palestinian residents angered at what they said was a day of oppression and violence enforced by Israeli soldiers.
Two women, a man, a senior citizen, and a child in a nearby car were said to have been injured in the shouting that erupted after the shooting, with Israeli forces using rubber-coated bullets against the crowd. The four were transferred the Al-Maqasid Hospital for treatment.
Israeli forces sealed off the area as clashes continued.
Al-Julani was a father of four, and a tradesman living in East Jerusalem’s Shu’fat neighborhood.
It is unclear why Israeli border guards set up the checkpoint in Wadi Joz, however, some residents suggesting the military installation was erected ahead of potential clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of East Jerusalem following Friday prayers, as Israel hosts a light show in the occupied part of the city.