Israeli police officers shot to death a mentally disabled and autistic Palestinian man in Jerusalem’s Old City on Saturday.
32-year-old Eyad Hallaq attended and worked in a special needs school in the Old City, just meters away from where he was shot.
Israeli soldiers shot him with eight live rounds at the stairs of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, while he was walking to the school.
In a statement, police said the Palestinian man was carrying “a suspicious object that looked like a pistol” and ran away when ordered to stop.
Eyewitnesses say that Eyad was just walking when the soldiers started shouting at him, and he got scared by their loud voices and tried to run away.
“My son was killed in cold blood, he was murdered…” his father Khairi al-Hallaq told Palestinian local media.
“My slain autistic son may have looked like a grown man, but his brain was that of a child, who didn’t interact with anybody, and who only left home to go to the special needs school,” father adds.
“They claim that they thought he carried a weapon! Why didn’t they search him, why did they have to kill him without even making sure he was carrying the claimed weapon,” he asks.
“Why didn’t they just capture him… why not search him… why did they have to rush to fatal shots, to killing him in a cold-blooded manner like this,” his weeping mother said.
“My son was murdered in cold blood, he carried nothing but his mobile phone and his wallet. He carried no weapons, he wanted to go to school because he felt bored at home, but at school, he could be more active and interact with others,” she said.
“They killed my only son, who was a child in a man’s body. They killed my only son, they killed my only son..,” she cried.
Nickolay Mladenov , the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process on Sunday condemned the killing of Eyad.
“My heartfelt condolences to the family of Eyad Hallaq, an unarmed Palestinian shot and killed yesterday in Jerusalem. A tragedy that should and could have been avoided!,” Mladenov tweeted.