Police say DNA found on cop’s gun proves Old City incident was terrorism

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Police announced on Sunday that they had found DNA evidence proving that a man shot in Jerusalem’s Old City grabbed a policeman’s gun and carried out a terror attack.

Police said the DNA test identified 26-year-old Mohammed Elasibi – a resident of the Bedouin town of Hura in southern Israel – with a weapon he was accused of arresting and shooting twice before being shot dead by officers near Mount Sinai. Temples.

Eyewitnesses and Arab officials have largely rejected that version of events, with former police officers saying it is “hard to believe” the force’s insistence that the shooting was not caught on any of the area’s many CCTV cameras.

“The DNA of the terrorist who carried out a terror shooting at the Chain Gate on Friday night was found on the police handgun that the terrorist grabbed from the police and used to shoot the officers,” the police said on Sunday in a statement, at add to that. the grip and slide of the weapon was the genetic material.

“This was unequivocally an armed attack and terrorist shooting – just as we reported on the night of the attack,” police said in a statement.

“Many who published lies about the incident should ask for forgiveness today from the police who acted bravely and fiercely and saved their lives by neutralizing the terrorist,” the statement said.

Mohammed Elasibi (Social media, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

In a statement, the Arab rights group Mossawa Center accused the police of “manipulating investigative subjects and obstructing the investigation.”

“Parts of the police testimonies were published even before they were examined and cross-examined by the Ministry of Defence. Now they are publishing false results from a pathological test that has not yet been completed, and is not being given to the family or the Ministry of Defense investigators,” the statement read.

The High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, an umbrella group of Arab community leaders, announced a one-day strike on Sunday in protest against the shooting, insisting they witnessed the incident in the absence of evidence to the contrary. as an innocent man being shot by police.

The strike included public services, businesses, and all schools except special education institutions. In addition, rallies were planned, including a mass protest during Elasibi’s funeral.

Hadash-Ta’al MK Ahmad Tibi was among the thousands who attended the funeral on Sunday afternoon, where he questioned the release of security camera footage of the incident.

“Usually, in these events, when the police charge that someone has attacked an officer, after five minutes there is video footage,” he told the Hebrew media. “I know the area well, there are five cameras that record the area, and every policeman has a body camera,” Tibi claimed, and demanded that the recording be released.

“We are suspicious that the police coordinated their evidence. They say exactly the same things, and this is very suspicious,” he said, adding that the Arab community does not have faith in law enforcement.

Israeli police patrol in the Old City of Jerusalem after a shooting incident in the early hours of April 1, 2023. (Ahmad Gharabli/ AFP)

Tibi said the shooting was “just like the incident of Yaqoub Abu al-Qia’an and Iyad Hallak,” two separate cases in recent years, in which police initially claimed that a man was shot dead by officers or was they intend to make a case. attack, before admitting that they had shot innocent people by mistake.

A guest at the funeral told the Walla news site that he did not believe Elasibi was a terrorist: “If he is a terrorist, the Shin Bet security service would not allow a mourning tent.”

Police issued statements that doubled down on their version, including testimonies from the police involved, and insisted that the area was not covered by security cameras.

The Department of Internal Police Investigations of the Ministry of Justice was looking into the incident and it was decided to decide whether an investigation was necessary.

The shooting happened near the Temple Mount flashpoint, where security forces are on high alert during the sensitive Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

For Palestinian Muslims, worship at the Temple Mount’s Al-Aqsa mosque – the third holiest site in Islam – is a central part of Ramadan. Jews revere the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism as the site of two ancient Temples.

The Muslim holy month, which began last week and will end on April 21, often sees heightened Israeli-Palestinian tensions, with frictions already high this year in Jerusalem and across the West Bank after months of deadly violence.

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