A man was shot and killed near Jerusalem’s Western Wall Friday by a security guard. The guard said he mistook a middle-aged Jewish man for a Palestinian militant after the victim shouted “Allah Akbar.”
Officials are puzzled by the incident, with few details being available. AFP reports that a Western Wall security guard fired multiple times on a man standing in line for a public restroom.
The guard quickly turned his gun on the man, after shouting “Allah Akbar.”
After paramedics arrived on the scene, unable to treat the multiple gunshot wounds, the man was pronounced dead.
Eye witnesses say he was shot between seven and ten times. Some have also said they did not believe the guard was justifiably provoked, also having made no attempt to warn or disable the man before shooting him fatally.
“Allah Akbar” is an Arabic phrase that translates roughly to English as “God is great” or “Good Lord.” It is a common expression, uttered frequently during Muslim prayer and as a daily blessing.
Details about the man and why he shouted the phrase are few. A middle-aged Israeli citizen, RT reports that local media stated that he was a frequent visitor to the Western Wall site.
Those who know him described the man as “eccentric,” sometimes known to rant at length about government policies. He was also recognized as a regular volunteer at a nearby Chabad soup kitchen.
Some witnesses speculated that the man may have converted recently to Islam.
Police officials have said that a formal investigation will be conducted and that the security guard may be jailed. They have already stated that the victim was found to have had no weapon or any item of suspicion.
The Western Wall is one of the most important religious sites in Jerusalem, drawing both devout Jews and Muslims in large numbers daily.
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