An Israeli security guard who shot dead a Jewish man at Jerusalem’s Western Wall is suspected of murdering him after “a verbal confrontation”, a court protocol revealed on Tuesday.
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court also allowed to publish the name of the suspect of the Friday shooting — Hadi Qabalan, a resident of the Druze village Beit Jann in northern Israel, who before becoming a security guard had served as a border police officer.
Qabalan had initially told police he shot Doron Ben Shloush dead in an act of self-defence after the latter yelled “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) and tried to pull something out of his pocket, presumably an object that could be used to attack him.
This, Qabalan said, led to him suspecting that Ben Shloush was a Palestinian militant.
But in a turn of events, the court protocol showed that Qabalan was being held “on suspicion of murder”, having shot Ben Shloush after “a verbal confrontation between the two.”
According to the NRG-Maariv news website, Qabalan shot Ben Shloush — a 46-year-old homeless man who frequented Jerusalem’s Old City and was subject to rage attacks — after on Friday the latter called him a “son of a bitch Druze”, following weeks of confrontations between them.
The court extended Qabalan’s remand by another six days.
The shooting took place shortly before 8 am (0500 GMT) as the plaza in front of the Western Wall, the holiest site Jews are currently allowed to pray, filled with worshippers for morning prayers ahead of the start of the Jewish Sabbath at sundown.
The site is venerated by Jews as the last remnant of the wall supporting the Second Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.
Above it is the compound housing the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.
Known to Jews as the Temple Mount, the compound is a deeply sensitive location where clashes frequently break out between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli forces.
Jews are not allowed to pray inside the Al-Aqsa mosque compound.