Israeli police have shot and killed an unarmed Palestinian near the Old City in occupied East Jerusalem.
The slain man, 32-year-old Iyad el-Hallak, attended and worked at a school for people with special needs in the Old City, close to the spot where he was shot on Saturday morning, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa.
A relative, who spoke to The Associated Press news agency on condition of anonymity, said el-Hallak was mentally disabled and was heading to the school.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the officers “spotted a suspect with a suspicious object that looked like a pistol. They called upon him to stop and began to chase after him on foot, during the chase officers also opened fire at the suspect.”
Rosenfeld added that no gun was found in the area.
Following the shooting, Israeli police sealed off the Old City and local media reported that medics were barred from entering the area.
“[Palestinians] said he was shot by several bullets and that he was left on the ground bleeding for a while until he died,” Wafa said.
The police also raided el-Hallak’s home in the neighbourhood of Wadi Joz, where members of his family were questioned.
Israeli daily Haaretz said el-Hallak’s family members denied claims that he was carrying a gun, and quoted them as saying “he wasn’t capable of harming anyone”.
They said el-Hallak’s body was transferred to the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute in Tel Aviv, which holds bodies of Palestinians killed in alleged attacks on Israelis, adding that the authorities have not provided them with further details.
The institute is notoriously known as the place where Palestinian organs and body parts have been harvested.
The shooting came a day after Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah who they alleged had tried to ram them with his vehicle. No Israelis were wounded in either incident.
A number of local and international human rights groups have raised concerns that Israeli security forces have used excessive force when confronting Palestinians who carried out attacks or were suspected of doing so.