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Family: Musab al-Ghazali 'killed in cold blood'

Dec. 29, 2015 8:57 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 30, 2015 10:51 A.M.)
Palestinian Musab Mahmoud al-Ghazali, 26
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- The family of 26-year-old Musab Mahmoud al-Ghazali on Tuesday accused Israeli forces of "executing him in cold blood."

Musab, who suffered a mental disorder, was shot dead on Dec. 26 after Israeli police say he pulled a knife on an officer in Allenby Square in Jerusalem.

However, a witness said at the time that he had not seen a knife in the young man’s hand, and his family denied that he would have carried out an attack.

Musab's parents and brothers were detained from their home and interrogated by Israeli intelligence at the Russian Compound police station in Jerusalem following his death.

"We told the interrogators that Musab was a student at the al-Nur School for people with special needs, and had never been affiliated to any political party," Musab’s brother, Mutaz, told Ma'an.

"He didn’t even know what the word attack means," Mutaz said. "He suffers from a mental disorder and doesn't care about politics or about what has been going on. All he cares about is watching TV soap operas."

Mutaz said that Musab left his home on Saturday morning in order to collect scrap metal, a routine task carried out by the 26-year-old in order to make a living.

His family was shocked when they later heard that Musab had been killed, Mutaz said, adding that when his brother left for work that morning, he had no idea "the bullets of the occupation were awaiting him."

According to an Israeli police report following his death, Musab was sitting in a park by the New Gate in the Old City when he followed a Jewish couple towards Allenby Square.

His movement "aroused suspicion" from Israeli police officers mounted on horses who then approached him, police said.

After one of the officers asked to see his identification, a "hand fight" broke out, before police say Musab pulled out a knife. Police opened fire on him, killing him after he tried to lift himself from the ground a second time.

However, a witness later told Ma'an that Musab had been sitting on a bench when the police officers arrived. He said that they asked him to stand and opened fire when he raised his hands in the air.

Musab is among more than 140 Palestinians to be killed since the beginning of October, the majority shot dead during alleged attacks on Israeli military and civilians.

Attacks on Israelis have been carried out largely without the organization of political groups, and often by individuals without any strong political affiliation.

However, the circumstances of a number of deaths have been disputed by witnesses as well as rights groups, who have said that many Palestinians did not pose any threat at the time of their death.
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