Israeli Arab Woman Shot in Bus Station Not a Terrorist, Conclude Security Services

Video shows Asra’a Zidan Abed, a divorced mother who had lost custody of her child, did not intend to hurt anyone but rather to induce police to shoot her.

A screenshot from YouTube of a video depicting Asra’a Abed moments before she was shot at the Afula bus station, October 9, 2015.
A screenshot from YouTube of a video depicting Asra’a Abed moments before she was shot at the Afula bus station, October 9, 2015. Screenshot

The Nazareth resident who was shot by police while holding a knife at the Afula bus station three weeks ago did not intend to commit a crime, Israel's Shin Bet security service and police have concluded.

Asra’a Zidan Abed, a divorced mother who lost custody of her child after attempting suicide, was shot and injured by police gunfire. She suffers from mental illness and has a history of hospitalizations, the Shin Bet and police noted in their evaluation of her submitted to the district attorney on Wednesday.

During their investigation, it emerged that after breaking up from her partner she decided to pretend to be a terrorist, go to a crowded place and induce security forces to shoot her. Consequently, after she arrived at the bus station she waved a knife, and did not hear the calls of the police officers nearby, who shot her in the lower body and moderately injured her.

The main indication leading investigators to their conclusion that Abed did not intend to hurt anyone other than herself was the video documenting the incident, in which she is seen standing next to a young ultra-Orthodox man without trying to hurt him.

The prosecution still intends to file charges against her in the coming days on minor charges.

The conduct of the four security personnel who shot at Abed, including two border police officers, a soldiers and a security guard, was also examined. Although investigators called their judgement into question, they decided that they had not crossed the criminal threshold and that there is no reason to take disciplinary measures against them, given the extenuating circumstances of the incident.

MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint Arab List) commented, "The decision not to try the police who shot six bullets into Asra'a Abed gives a green light to other policemen to shoot without justification and legitimizes being light on the trigger." He added: "Anyone who saw the video sees that there was no danger to the police or the area justifying gunfire. Only by a miracle did the shooting not end in Asra'a's death. We will press to appeal this tendentious and mistaken decision."