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Israeli Arrested Over Shooting Death of Palestinian Who Tried to Steal Truck

Resident of Beit Elazari, a moshav near Rehovot, told police that he fired in the air to scare the three alleged thieves away, but this story didn’t match the crime scene evidence.

A 64­-year-old Israeli man was arrested on suspicion of shooting and killing a Palestinian Sunday morning, apparently to prevent him from stealing his truck.
Police said the man, a resident of Beit Elazari, a moshav near Rehovot, told them that three men had tried to steal his truck. He initially claimed to have fired in the air to scare the thieves away, but this story didn’t match the crime scene evidence.
Later, after police found the dead man, the owner changed his story. He said one of the thieves threatened him with an iron bar, so he shot him.
Police are now trying to determine whether the owner, who has no criminal record, really opened fire in self-defense, or whether he shot the men in order to stop the theft. They held him for questioning for several hours, but released him to house arrest Sunday evening.
The incident occurred at about 5:30 A.M., when the 64-year-old owner heard a noise from the lot where his trucks are parked. He left his house with his legally owned pistol and upon reaching the lot, saw the suspects trying to steal one of the trucks, he said.
When the police arrived, he told them he had scared off the thieves by shooting in the air. But when the police searched the area, they found bloodstains.
Soon afterward, an anonymous caller told the Magen David Adom ambulance service that a friend of his had been shot and was lying where he had fallen. Police went to the spot from which the anonymous call came and found the body of a Palestinian man of about 30 years old from the West Bank town of Halhoul, near Hebron. Lying next to him were gloves and tools for breaking into a locked vehicle.
Police later discovered that the call was made from the dead man’s cell phone. They concluded that his partners abandoned him to make good their own escape, but nevertheless wanted him found.
The man’s lawyer, Benzi Kveller, told Haaretz that when the man arrived at the lot, he heard the truck’s engine running and saw three men near it. He told them to go away, and when they didn’t, he became frightened and tried to run away himself, but slipped and fell. At that point, one of the thieves approached him carrying an iron bar.
To drive him away, Kveller said, the man fired in the air three times. He then got up, ran back home and called the police. Only later, after the body was found, did he realize his shots had hit the thief.

Yaniv Kubovich
Haaretz Correspondent

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Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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