The family of an Israeli Arab man who was shot dead after allegedly attempting to stab a Jerusalem policeman said Saturday that he suffered from mental distress, adding he could have been incapacitated without being killed.
The suspect, Ahmed Mahmad Ahmed Mahmid, was a 30-year-old resident of the Israeli Arab city of Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel.
Nassim, Mahmid's brother, told Israeli media that his brother was not functional and that he received psychological treatment. "We brought him back home a few years ago," he said. "He was a patient at Sha'ar Menashe [a phychiatric medical center]. A sick man."
The family condemned Friday's attempted stabbing, with some relatives insisting the attempt was not politically motivated. "They are quick to shoot a man. Doubtless because he's an Arab," one family member said.
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According to police, the incident unfolded when Mahmid emerged from an area near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City and started walking toward a team of policemen stationed in the area. He then tried to stab one of them with a knife he had in his possession. A confrontation ensued, during which Mahmid was shot and killed, police said.
The municipality of Umm al-Fahm criticized the shooting death of Mahmid, accusing police of "unreasonable behavior" and asserting that the suspect could have been stopped without being killed.
Umm al-Fahm mayoral candidate Mustapha Abu Majd said the Mahmid family was "normal, not a family that sends children to be murdered. No one raises children to be murdered. They could have neutralized him some other way. When it's an Arab, the finger is light on the trigger."
Other family members noted similar incidents, in which the attacker was stopped without being killed.
On Friday night, police raided Mahmid's Umm al-Fahm home.