Netanyahu Calls Police Killing of Autistic Palestinian Eyad Hallaq 'A Tragedy'

During weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu tells ministers he expects their 'complete examinations' of the shooting

Noa Landau
Noa Landau
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Protesters hold signs during a rally against Israel plans to annex parts of the West Bank.
Protesters hold signs during a rally against Israel plans to annex parts of the West Bank, in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 6, 2020.Credit: Sebastian Scheiner,AP
Noa Landau
Noa Landau

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time commented on the killing of autistic Palestinian Eyad Hallaq on Sunday, calling it "a tragedy."

During a weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu told his ministers he expects them to conduct a full investigation into the shooting.

>> 'He's disabled,' the caregiver screamed. 'I'm with her,' Eyad cried. The cop opened fire anyway: The last 5 minutes of Eyad's life

"This is a person with disabilities, autism, who was suspected - as we know, wrongly - of being a terrorist in a very sensitive place. We all share in the grief of the family," Netanyahu told the ministers. "I expect your complete examinations into this matter."

Protesters attend a rally against Israel plans to annex parts of the West Bank, in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 6, 2020.Credit: Sebastian Scheiner,AP

Hallaq, 32, was shot dead by Israeli border policemen in Jerusalem's Old City last month. A resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz, he attended and worked in a special needs school in the Old City, just meters away from where he was shot on Saturday.

Results of the forensic autopsy on Hallaq's body last week revealed that he died from two bullet wounds to his torso, a source involved in the investigation said. The family received Hallaq’s body near 10 P.M. on Sunday evening, and he was laid to rest shortly afterward.

“According to the findings, the suspicion of criminal action on behalf of the officers is growing and we expect that those responsible for the investigation will proceed and bring the officers to justice,” said Attorney Jad Qadmani, who represents the Hallaq family.

The event has sparked condemnations from within Israel and worldwide, with many drawing comparisons with the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which gave rise to protests across the United States.

On Sunday, a planned re-enactement of the events leading to Eyad Hallaq's death by the police investigations unit was postponed due to media presence at the scene.

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