A Jewish Israeli man was shot and killed in a scuffle with Israeli soldiers who suspected he was a Palestinian attacker, police said, in a reflection of the nervous mood that has gripped Israelis amid a spate of near-daily stabbings.
The shooting came as prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Germany for talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry on how to restore calm. Kerry is set to meet with the Palestinians this weekend.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the shooting of the Israeli man in Jerusalem occurred after soldiers patrolling the area asked him to show his ID as he got off a bus.
The man refused, scuffled with the soldiers and then attempted to seize one of their weapons. A private security guard nearby shot the man, and one soldier also opened fire, police said. The man later died of his wounds.
Police said the soldiers had grown suspicious when the man, speaking in Hebrew, asked to see their IDs and proclaimed: “I am Isis,” referring to the Islamic State militant group.
“The soldiers had high suspicions that he was a terrorist,” Rosenfeld said.
Police later identified the man as a 28-year-old Jewish resident of Jerusalem, without providing further details.
Avraham Ben Haim told Channel 10 TV he was a friend of the man killed. He said the man was from the restive Russian region of Dagestan, worked as a security guard and was not stable.
“I don’t know how fit he was to carry a gun,” he said.
The Palestinian attacks have Israelis on edge. Several politicians have urged licensed gun owners to carry their weapons with them, and there have been several bloody accidents.
In one case, an Israeli man stabbed a fellow Jew, thinking his victim was an Arab because of his dark skin. And earlier this week, a private security guard shot an Eritrean migrant he thought was an attacker during a bus station shooting.
As the Eritrean lay on the ground, a mob of people cursed him, kicked him and hit him with objects. He later died of his wounds.
Police said the autopsy showed the man died from gunshot wounds and that four suspects arrested for their role in the beating were released on bail following a court appearance.
Opposition legislator Tzipi Livni accused hardline politicians of fomenting a climate of fear and danger with their calls for people to arm themselves.
“This is not the Wild West,” she told Israeli Army Radio. “The suspicion there is now, the fear and the hate lead to brutal and very difficult results.”
Israelis have scrambled to purchase pepper spray for self-defence, and stores and restaurants are empty. Israel has beefed up security, deploying hundreds of soldiers to back up thousands of police officers.
Police have erected concrete barriers and checkpoints at the entrances to Arab areas of east Jerusalem, where many of the attackers are from.
Many Palestinian residents of Jerusalem have been afraid to leave their homes for fear of getting mixed up with vigilante mobs or being mistaken for an attacker.
In new violence, police said two Palestinians stabbed an Israeli at a bus stop after they tried to board a bus ferrying children to school. Police shot the two men, one of whom later died while the other was seriously wounded. Police said the Israeli man was moderately wounded.
Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency said the men, both about 20 years old, have records of militant activity. One is a member of the Islamic militant Hamas group, while the other was jailed for two years after he was caught carrying a knife at a sensitive West Bank holy site.
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