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Hundreds attend funeral of autistic Palestinian man shot dead by Israeli forces

AP
Filed on June 1, 2020
Rana, mother of Iyad Halak, 32, holds his photo at their home in East Jerusalem's Wadi Joz.

(AP)

The shooting drew broad condemnations and revived complaints alleging excessive force by Israeli security forces.

Hundreds of people have attended the funeral of an autistic Palestinian man who was shot dead by Israeli police.

Israeli police shot dead an unarmed autistic Palestinian man in occupied Jerusalem's Old City on Saturday after saying they suspected he was carrying a weapon.

The shooting drew broad condemnations and revived complaints alleging excessive force by Israeli security forces. On social media, some compared the shooting to police violence in the US.

Relatives identified the deceased man as Iyad Halak, 32. They said he suffered from autism and was heading to the school for students with special needs where he studied each day when he was shot.

"They killed him in cold blood," Halak's mother, Rana, told Israel's Channel 12 TV.

In a statement, Israeli police said they spotted a suspect "with a suspicious object that looked like a pistol." When he failed to obey orders to stop, officers opened fire, the statement said. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld later said no weapon was found.

Channel 12 said members of Israel's paramilitary border police force fired at Halak's legs and chased him into a dead-end alley. It said a senior officer ordered a halt in fire as they entered the alley, but that a second officer did not listen and fired six or seven bullets from an M-16 rifle, killing Halak. The report said both officers were taken into custody and interrogated for several hours.

An AP video from the scene showed three bullet holes in a white wall at the end of the alleyway.

Halak's father, Kheiri, said police raided the family's home after the shooting. "They found nothing," he said, claiming that police had cursed his daughter when she became upset at them.



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