Police Dismiss Palestinian Claims After Foiled Terrorist Attack on Har HaBayis


Israeli security forces at the scene where a man was shot dead after trying to take an officer’s weapon, April 1. (Jamal Awad/Flash90)

A man stopped by the police just off Har HaBayis grabbed an officer’s gun and fired it, prompting the unit to shoot him dead, the force said.

The incident Friday night at the edge of the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex came at a high point of Muslim attendance for the month of Ramadan amid heightened fears of an escalation in violence.

The slain man was identified as Mohammad Khaled Al-Asibi, 26, a resident of the Bedouin town Hura in southern Israel.

The Justice Ministry department for investigating police conduct is looking into the incident, a spokesperson said, adding the procedure was not a formal investigation.

Asked if the unit’s response was due to allegations of misconduct, she said, “There are such claims, and that’s why we’re looking into it.”

Police released surveillance footage of what they said was the terrorist walking across the complex alone right before the incident, which a spokesperson said happened in “seconds,” and denied reports he had intervened in an altercation with a worshipper.

The terrorist’s village council called for a thorough investigation of his killing and a general strike Saturday in protest.

The police spokesperson said Al-Asibi first aroused suspicion walking toward the shuttered compound. After being stopped for questioning, the spokesperson said Al-Asibi jumped on one of the officers and grabbed his gun, managing to fire two bullets toward policemen as the officer struggled to restrain him. Police described the incident as an attempted terrorist attack and said they shot and killed him in self-defense. No officers were wounded. The spokesperson said there was no camera on the inner wall of the compound that could have captured the incident.

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