Sunday, December 8

Israeli police volunteer 'changes story' about border killing

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli border police volunteer who shot and killed a Palestinian worker on Nov. 30 has retracted his original claim that the Palestinian tried to stab him with a sharp object, Israeli media reported Saturday.

According to Haaretz, the unnamed border police volunteer "changed his story, saying there was no sharp object, but he had nevertheless been attacked."

A border police spokesman told Ma'an Sunday that police had opened an investigation into the incident, but refused to name the Israeli volunteer or provide further details.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said he was unfamiliar with reports that the volunteer had changed his story.

The 24-year-old Palestinian - later identified as Antar Shalabi Mahmoud al-Aqraa - was shot dead in northern Israel during an official search "in the night ... for illegal Palestinian workers," Rosenfeld told Ma'an on the day of the shooting.

Rosenfeld claimed that a Palestinian worker "attempted to stab" the border police volunteer, who responded by shooting and killing the worker.

Forty undocumented workers were detained during the search, he added.

Head of the Palestinian worker's federation Shahir Saad said on the day of the incident that Israel "treats workers in a terroristic, barbarian way."

Al-Aqraa "was executed this morning," Saad said.

Thousands gathered for a funeral procession in al-Aqraa's home village of Qabalan in the northern West Bank on Monday.

His family denied that al-Aqraa - who was to be married in mid-December - had tried to stab the soldier.

"Why would a young man scheduled to be wedded in two weeks, and carrying invitations, attempt to attack an Israeli soldier?" al-Aqraa's father said. "These are pure lies and fabrications."


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