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Palestinian shot dead entering East Jerusalem

Oct. 3, 2010 8:44 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 5, 2010 9:28 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian worker from Hebron was shot and killed by Israeli border guards on Sunday while he attempted to enter East Jerusalem near the village of Al-Isawiya.

The deceased was identified as 38-year-old Izz Ad-Din Al-Kawazba from the town of Sa'ir in Hebron. Al-Kawzaba's cousin Salah told Ma'an that border guards shot the victim at close range, refuting police accounts that the shooting was accidental.

Al-Kawazba said he was 20 meters away from his cousin when he was shot, shortly after two groups of workers climbed over the separation wall in the Zayem At-Tur area and were chased by an Israeli border guard patrol.

He said he urged his cousin, who was with his brother Hassan, to "hurry because the soldiers were behind us."

"Suddenly I saw a soldier approaching Izz Ad-Din extending his gun to his body and shooting. I moved backward along with dozens of other workers to check up on Izz Ad-Din. As we got close, we were surrounded by special forces who attacked us violently," he said.

"We saw them shoving the martyr's body in a black bag dragging it more than 50 meters. More than 100 workers were gathered and were sent to Al-Eizariya. The victim's brother Hassan was detained," he added.

Spokesman for Israel's National Police Mickey Rosenfeld said Al-Kawazba was injured when a "shot was fired apparently accidentally" by a border guard officer after he "attempted to grab one of the border police's gun."

Al-Kawazba was transferred to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital where he later died of his wounds, Rosenfeld said, adding that an investigation "is being carried out in order to understand what took place at the scene."

Rosenfeld said the shooting followed the detention of "15 illegal workers [who] crossed the security barrier near French Hill," after which a chase ensued.

The death comes over a week after an Israeli settler guard shot and killed two Palestinians in the flashpoint neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem, sparking days of clashes.

(This version UPDATES account of shooting from the victim's cousin, Salah Al-Kawazba.)
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