Arab MK: Police shooting of Arab youth a ‘mafia-style execution’

Thousands protest death of Kheir Hamdan in Kafr Kanna, call for dismissal of officers; dozens throw firebombs, stones toward cops

MK Ahmad Tibi, from the Arab political party Ra’am-Ta’al, called the fatal police shooting of an Arab youth in Kafr Kanna on Friday a “mafia-style execution.”

“An officer shoots Kheir Hamdan in Kafr Kanna after he is seen retreating and walking away. He is immediately dragged and mounted in the car savagely. It’s a mafia-style execution,” Tibi wrote on Twitter Saturday.

Several thousands of demonstrators assembled along the main road of Kafr Kanna for a protest planned for 3 pm. The protesters carried pictures of Hamdan, waved Palestinian flags, and called for the dismissal of the police officers involved in Friday night’s shooting and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Ynet reported.

Several dozens of Arab youths rioted at the entrance to the town, and threw stones and Molotov cocktails at police. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

A short, edited surveillance video of the incident surfaced Saturday on the popular Israeli-Arab news website Panet.

In it, Hamdan is allegedly seen attacking a police van, banging on the windows. An officer gets out and, as Hamdan is seen retreating, shoots him. Hamdan writhes on the ground, before police drag him into the van. He was taken to hospital where he died of his wounds.

Screenshot from Panet showing a photo of Khdeir Hamdan, 20, who was shot by police November 7, 2014 during an attempted arrest.
Screenshot from Panet showing a photo of Khdeir Hamdan, 20, who was shot by police November 7, 2014 during an attempted arrest.

After the video surfaced, police said they were launching an investigation into the killing. Police chief Yohanan Danino called for an emergency meeting on the situation.

Riots erupted on Saturday in Kafr Kanna following the shooting.

Demonstrators set tires alight, threw stones and blocked roads in the village as they clashed with police to protest the killing. The village’s regional council also declared a strike in response and demanded a thorough investigation of the incident. Riot police were on the scene.

Police said Kheir a-Din Hamdan tried to stab an officer during an attempt to arrest him in the northern Arab town near Nazareth.

Police said they arrived at Hamdan’s house in the Galilean town late Friday night to arrest him on suspicion of throwing a stun grenade. When he attempted to stab one of the officers, the police shot and critically injured the man, they said.

Police added that they warned the man by firing in the air, and when he didn’t desist, was shot in the chest, a series of events that was not evident in the video.

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