The Justice Ministry’s Police Investigations Department is considering opening an investigation into a volunteer cop who may have shot the terrorist in Tuesday’s Jaffa terror attack after the latter was already neutralized and lying on the ground.
Bashar Massalha, 22, killed American tourist Taylor Force, 29, from Lubbock, Texas, and wounded nine others in the Tuesday night stabbing spree.
According to police, Massalha, who hails from a West Bank village near Qalqilya, first stabbed three people along the Jaffa boardwalk, a popular site for shopping and leisure, before fleeing inland toward the city’s Kikar Hasha’on, where he stabbed three more people. He then went on to stab at least four people several hundred meters to the north, near the Dolphinarium club in Tel Aviv, before being shot dead by police.
In one video clip posted online from the scene of the attack, Massalha is seen lying motionless on the ground after being shot by police, while a volunteer policeman stands nearby.
A voice is heard from the crowd gathered nearby goading the cop, saying, “Give it to him in the head! Don’t be afraid.”
A bullet is fired, and other members of the crowd yell to the cop to stop firing.
“Enough! He’s lying on the ground neutralized. What are you doing shooting for no reason?” yells another policeman.
Law enforcement officials are examining the footage to ascertain whether there is evidence of a crime in the shooting of the terrorist as he appears to lie helpless on the ground.
Police announced Wednesday they would step up their presence in the mixed Arab-Jewish southern suburb of Tel Aviv following the incident.
The attack in Jaffa was the third of the day Tuesday, and came as US Vice President Joe Biden was visiting former Israeli president Shimon Peres at the Peres Center nearby.
As of Thursday, 29 Israelis and four foreign nationals have been killed in a wave of Palestinian terrorism and violence since October. About 180 Palestinians have also been killed, some two-thirds of them while attacking Israelis, and the rest during clashes with troops, according to the Israeli army.
The American tourist who was killed, 29-year-old Taylor Force, was a US army veteran who had done tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He graduated from West Point Military Academy in 2009 and served as a field artillery officer from 2009 to 2014 at Fort Hood.
Force’s wife was severely injured in the attack, according to Zaki Heller, spokesperson for the Magen David Adom ambulance service.
The State Department issued a statement in which it said it “condemns in the strongest possible terms” the attack in Jaffa, as well as two other attacks in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv suburb Petah Tikva.