Police to Investigate Asylum Seeker's Lynching in Be'er Sheva

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Security forces at the Be'er Sheva Central Bus Station after a shooting attack, October 18, 2015.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Police will conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the shooting and death of an asylum seeker, Haftom Zarhum, 29, of Eritrea, who was killed in Sunday's Be'er Sheva shooting attack.

In a hearing at the Southern District Police Monday morning, police decided that the central unit of the Negev District Police would undertake the specific investigation.

An IDF soldier was killed and 10 other people were wounded in a shooting attack at the Central Bus Station in the Southern Israeli city of Be'er Sheva. The terrorist, a Bedouin Israeli citizen, was also shot and killed. Zarhum was shot following the initial gunfire by a security guard, who evidently thought he was linked to the gunman. Zarhum traveled to Be'er Sheva to obtain a visa and was on his way home when he was shot.

In videos captured at the scene, Zarhum is seen attacked by the people around him, including a soldier, after being shot. People are seen kicking him, throwing a bench at him and pinning him to the ground with a chair. Some of the witnesses made efforts to stop the attackers.

Police stressed that this is not a manslaughter investigation; it is investigating the entire event, as he had sustained injuries before the attack.

Police decided to open an investigation as this was an attack on a defenseless person after the terrorist was killed—there was no more threat. Police explain that they will proceed with this investigation "cautiously:" On the one hand, they do not want to deter citizens from acting during terrorist attacks, but on the other, they must hold each individual accountable for their actions.  

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