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JERUSALEM — Israeli police fatally shot a Palestinian man who was later found to have been unarmed, according to media reports Saturday, threatening to inflame tensions already heightened by the economic stress caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the prospect that Israel will soon annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
In a statement, police said units on patrol near the Lions Gate of Jerusalem’s historic Old City spotted a man carrying what officers believed was a pistol. They said the man fled when confronted, leading to a foot chase that also involved members of Israel’s Border Police. During the pursuit, the man was fatally shot by officers.
Police did not say whether a weapon has been found, although an Israeli television station reported that he was found to have been unarmed.
The victim was identified as Iyad Elkhalak, 32, who lived in the mostly Arab neighborhood of Wadi Joz in East Jerusalem. His family described Elkhalak to reporters as autistic and said he was on his way a school for students with disabilities in the Old City, where he was both a student and employee.