Slain Eritrean Asylum Seeker Was Also Shot by Border Policeman, Police Say

Both a security officer and a Border Policeman fired at the Eritrean man who was mistaken for a terrorist in Be'er Sheva.

Almog Ben Zikri
Almog Ben Zikri
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Israel's African migrant community holds a memorial for Haftom Zarhum, October 21, 2015.
Israel's African migrant community holds a memorial for Haftom Zarhum, October 21, 2015.Credit: Reuters
Almog Ben Zikri
Almog Ben Zikri

The Eritrean asylum seeker, who was killed in Be'er Sheva last week after being mistaken for a terrorist, was shot by two people — a security officer as well as a Border Policeman, according to a police investigation.

Haftom Zarhum, 29, was beaten by an angry mob after being shot during the terror attack at the city's central bus station on October 18. An autopsy determined that he died as a result of the gunfire, not the lynching, and found eight bullets in his body.

Immediately after the event, security officer Ziad Asam said that he had fired a single shot at Zarhum, thinking he was a terrorist trying to flee. Police now say Zarhum was also shot by a Border Policeman, who fired from outside the bus station.

It is not yet known how many of the eight bullets were fired by the security officer and how many by the Border Policeman. Two of the bullets were lethal, according to the autopsy.

The results of the postmortem effectively meant that none of those who participated in the lynching could be charged with murder or manslaughter.

Sgt. Omri Levy was killed in the attack carried out by Mohannad al-Okbi, who shot the soldier with a pistol and then grabbed Levy's rifle. Al-Okbi, a 21-year-old Israeli Bedouin, was shot to death.

Sources close to the investigation said that the clip of Levy's rifle was inserted into his weapon, but the rifle was not loaded, which would have made it easier for the terrorist to use the weapon. There is apparently no ban on soldiers carrying their weapons with the clip inserted.

In court Sunday, the prosecution submitted an affidavit against the perpetrator’s brother, alleging that he knew that al-Okbi had bought a pistol and was becoming radicalized.

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