A Jewish man was killed on Friday morning at the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem after being shot multiple times by a security guard.
The guard told police that 46-year-old Doron Ben Shlush was in a public bathroom onsite, and that he shouted “Allahu Akbar,” an Arabic phrase meaning “God is greater.” The phrase, though common in Muslim parlance, has historically been shouted by terrorists ahead of perpetrating attacks in Israel.
According to the guard, 25, Ben Shlush reached into his pocket while shouting the Arabic phrase.
Magen David Adom crews attempted to resuscitate Ben Shlush, who succumbed to his wounds at the scene.
The police opened an investigation into the incident and interrogated the guard at length. He was then arrested and a Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court judge remanded him for five days. A gag order has been placed on the guard’s identity.
At the remand hearing, the judge described the incident as “severe. It ended in the death of an innocent person.” The judge noted that the guard kept silent throughout the hearing.
Western Wall rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch expressed his deep sorrow over the shooting and said, “regardless of the circumstances, such an incident is a grave tragedy.”
Ben Shlush was a familiar figure at the Western Wall area, reports said Friday, with some describing him as an apparently mentally unstable but harmless individual.
A witness at the scene who knew Ben Shlush expressed dismay regarding the shooting. “I don’t understand why he was shot. Everybody knows him and his behavior. He often acted in a nervous manner. What has happened here is not normal,” said David Dahan.
The victim was “sitting down this morning, reading the newspaper as usual,” Dahan continued. For some reason, “he began screaming and after that he approached the bathroom. After a short time, I heard at least seven or 10 gunshots.”
Acquaintances said Ben Shlush was homeless and was residing in the Chabad House near the Western Wall. He had previously lived in Hadera, Channel 2 said.
“Why didn’t they shoot at his legs? Why was he shot 10 times?” asked his ex-wife in an interview to Maariv. “My ex-husband was a well-known and well-liked figure in Jerusalem. Despite our divorce, we always loved each other.”
Ben Shlush’s 16 year-old daughter said she was shocked by the news. She described her father as a man who was always trying to help others.
The guard’s lawyer told reporters that his client was new to the job and was not familiar with Ben Shlush.
The company that employs the guard said he had undergone a full, 25-day training course for the job.