An Eritrean asylum seeker mistaken for
a terrorist during a night in Beersheba died from
his gunshot wounds, and not the beating he received from a mob, Negev subdistrict police said Wednesday, after receiving the autopsy results.
On Tuesday, acting police commissioner Asst.-Ch. Bentzi Sau said that detectives had begun collecting evidence and questioning witnesses to the killing of Haptom Zarhum, 29, who was shot by a security guard and then set upon by a series of bystanders, who kicked him in the head and dropped a metal bench on his head after he was incapacitated
and not moving on the floor.
Sau said that officers had identified a number of people of interest and were waiting for the results of the autopsy before they would bring them in for questioning under caution.
“We know the public is living under a great deal of pressure right now, but there
are clear lines and we will not allow people to harm minorities [Arabs] or suspects,” Sau said Wednesday.
The military police will also investigate reports that soldiers allegedly took part in the beating.
After the shooting, Ziad, the security guard, said that he heard a rapid gunfire and ran inside the station, where he saw Zarhum crawling on the floor next to a soldier who had been stabbed and injured. Ziad, speaking just after the shooting and before it had been determined that Zarhum was innocent, said that he shot one round to wound the “terrorist”.
A spokesman for the Negev subdistrict police on Wednesday said they did not know yet how many bullets or how many different shooters may have hit Zarhum.
On Wednesday evening, friends of Zarhum’s and members of the Eritrean asylum seeker community plan to hold a memorial ceremony for him at Levinsky Park in South Tel Aviv.