Man shot dead after snatching Jerusalem guard’s gun

Man shot dead after snatching Jerusalem guard’s gun
By Eric Silver in Jerusalem

The Independent/UK
Published: 11 August 2007

An Israeli security guard shot dead a young man in Jerusalem’s Old City
yesterday after he had stolen another guard’s gun and wounded him in
the shoulder. The dead man, aged about 20, carried no identification,
but is believed to have been a Palestinian.

The guard chased the thief along Christian Quarter Road, a pilgrims’
shopping street above the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and then left
up a steep, high-walled lane leading to the Greek Orthodox
Patriarchate. Witnesses said the fugitive was shot dead in an exchange
of pistol fire.

Nine Arab and Jewish bystanders were wounded, mostly by ricochets.
Ambulances evacuated them to Israeli hospitals. Seven were said to be
in serious condition. The incident occurred just before 11 a.m.. The
private security men, hired by the Israeli government, were guarding a
yeshiva seminary.

Dudi Cohen, the national police commander, said after visiting the
scene: "This was clearly a nationalistic incident. The terrorist wished
to carry out an attack, and that’s why he snatched one of the guards’
weapons." Aharon Franco, the Jerusalem police chief, said the guard
acted properly. Closed-circuit cameras showed him chasing the assailant
and engaging in a gunfight.

Police went on high alert as Muslim worshippers began making their way
to Al Aqsa mosque for Friday prayers, but the Christian Quarter soon
returned to business as usual as visitors trickled back.

Armed police cordoned off the area where the dead man’s body lay on its
back, arms akimbo, for about an hour. It was eventually ferried to the
police morgue by religious Jewish volunteers, who became a familiar
sight on the scene of suicide bombings during the intifada. The body
left a silhouette of blood on the paving stones.

Daoud Khoury, 37, said he saw two men firing at each other outside his
hardware shop below the patriarchate. "I ran inside and took cover in
the loft. I’ve never seen anything like this before in all my life."
Another witness, Fares Tahar, said: "I saw a woman shot in the leg. She
was shouting ‘Help me!’ We took her to the Jaffa Gate and put her in an

Elie Kouz, 58, watched the chase from his hand-painted pottery shop on
Christian Quarter Road. "Two men were firing single shots at each other
as they ran. I saw an Armenian man I know who was injured. His daughter
was crying. She had been wounded in the knee."