A man was shot and killed Monday morning at a bus stop near the central Israel city of Ra’anana, after an Israel Defense Forces soldier mistook him for a Palestinian terrorist, in a rare occurrence.
According to the Israel Police, the man, a citizen aged around 40, approached the soldier in a “suspicious manner” while the latter was waiting at a bus stop at Ra’anana Junction.
The serviceman, who said he was feeling in danger, shot the suspect and seriously injured him. He was taken to Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba, where medics pronounced him dead.
A passerby in his 50s suffered light injuries in the leg due to shrapnel from the incident, according to medics.
Police said there was no suspicion that the dead man had been a terrorist.
The man had likely been in need of “professional diagnosis,” police said, indicating possible mental health issues that may have caused him to behave suspiciously.
Authorities were checking whether he was carrying a knife during the incident.
The incident was likely to reignite a debate about IDF soldiers’ open-fire rules, which many right-wing politicians decry as too strict. Extremist MK Itamar Ben Gvir, who is seeking to become public security minister in the likely upcoming government, has vowed to relax open fire rules to allow police and soldiers to more easily use live fire at attackers, including rioters throwing stones and petrol bombs.
In 2015, a Jewish man was shot and killed near the Jerusalem central bus station, after the man attacked two soldiers and tried to grab one of the weapons they were carrying, leading them to believe he was a terrorist. That incident had come at the height of near-daily Palestinian attacks.