Israel ends probe into fatal shooting of a Palestinian man near Al-Aqsa Mosque

Thomas Helm

The National  /  April 14, 2023

Mohammed Elasibi’s family described the police action as a ‘cold-blooded killing’.

Israel’s State Prosecutors Office said it has closed an investigation into the police shooting of a Palestinian man near Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque two weeks ago.

The investigation by the Police Internal Investigations Department was closed because of “the lack of an offence”, the state attorney’s office said on Thursday.

It said there was “clear, direct and concrete evidence that no crime was committed” by the officers.

Police said they acted in self-defence after Mohammed Elasibi, 26, grabbed an officer’s gun and fired at personnel.

The family dispute this version of events, however, accusing the police of carrying out a “cold-blooded killing”.

The case has caused a great deal of contention, with witnesses largely disputing accounts from the police and questioning why they have not released CCTV footage of the incident.

Politician Aida Touma-Sliman, of the Hadash-Ta’al party, accused authorities of ignoring “cameras which surprisingly disappeared”.

Police maintained that no cameras captured the killing. They later released a report that said Elasibi’s DNA was found on a police firearm.

Far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir praised the decision to close the investigation.

Mr Ben-Gvir said it was “good that the prosecution accepted the testimony of the brave police officers who neutralised a terrorist attempting an attack” at the site.

Elasibi’s family say he was an innocent medical student with no history of radical views.

After the killing, Israel’s Palestinian community launched a one-day general strike in protest.

Thomas Helm is Jerusalem Correspondent at The National