Israeli police kill disabled Palestinian in East Jerusalem

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Member of the Israeli security forces patrol in the area where Israeli police in annexed east Jerusalem reportedly shot dead a Palestinian with special needs they mistakenly thought was armed with a pistol, on May 30, 2020. (AFP)
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Rana, mother of Iyad Halak, 32, holds his photo at their home in East Jerusalem's Wadi Joz, Saturday, May 30, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 31 May 2020

Israeli police kill disabled Palestinian in East Jerusalem

  • The police say he was carrying “a suspicious object that looked like a pistol”
  • Tensions have risen in recent weeks as Israel has pressed ahead with plans to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank

JERUSALEM: Israeli police in annexed East Jerusalem on Saturday shot dead a disabled Palestinian they mistakenly thought was armed with a pistol, prompting furious condemnation from the Palestinians.
The incident happened in the alleys of the walled Old City near Lions’ Gate, an access point mainly used by Palestinians.
“Police units on patrol there spotted a suspect with a suspicious object that looked like a pistol,” an Israeli police statement said.
“They called upon him to stop and began to chase after him on foot. During the chase, officers also opened fire at the suspect, who was neutralized.
“No weapon was found at the scene after the area was searched,” the statement said.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party denounced the killing as a “war crime.”
It said it held Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fully responsible for the “execution of a young disabled man.”
The Palestinian leadership demanded that whoever killed the man be brought before the International Criminal Court.
The Palestinians’ official news agency Wafa identified the dead man as Iyad Khairi Hallak, a resident of the Wadi Joz neighborhood of East Jerusalem with special needs.

HIGHLIGHT

Israeli police mistakenly thought the disabled man was armed with a pistol.

“Today, Israeli Occupation Forces in East Jerusalem assassinated Iyad Khairi, 32, a disabled Palestinian,” Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, wrote on Twitter.
The killing is a “crime that will be met with impunity unless the world stops treating Israel as a state above the law,” he said.
Erekat added the hashtags #PalestineWillBeFree and #ICantBreath — a reference to African-American man George Floyd whose death while a policeman kneeled on his neck has sparked riots in the US.
Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip, said the killing of the young Palestinian man in Jerusalem would “fuel our people’s revolution which will not stop until the occupier leaves all Palestinian territory.”
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said an investigation had been opened into the circumstances surrounding the man’s death.


New Daesh leader was informant for US, says counter terrorism report

Updated 18 September 2020

New Daesh leader was informant for US, says counter terrorism report

  • CTC said it is “highly confident” Al-Mawla became the new leader of Daesh after the previous leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, was killed

NEW YORK: The man widely believed to be the new leader of Daesh was once an informant for the US, according to a new report from the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC), a research body at the US military academy of West Point in New York.

“Stepping Out from the Shadows: The Interrogation of the Islamic State’s Future Caliph” is based on Tactical Interrogation Reports (TIRs) — the paper trail the US military creates when enemy fighters are detained and interrogated — from Al-Mawla’s time in captivity in the late 2000s.

Before his release in 2009, Al-Mawla named 88 extremists involved in terrorist activities, and the information he divulged during his interrogations led US forces in the region to successfully capture or kill dozens of Al-Qaeda fighters, the report claims.

The CTC said it is “highly confident” Al-Mawla became the new leader of Daesh after the previous leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, was killed in a US air raid in Syria in October 2019.

Although Daesh announced that a man called Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashimi Al-Qurashi was Baghdadi’s successor, US officials have also stated that Al-Qurashi’s true identity is actually Al-Mawla — also known as Hajj Abdullah.

Before joining Daesh, Al-Mawla is believed to have been the deputy leader of Al-Qaeda.

While details about the operation resulting in his capture are scarce, the TRIs reveal that he was captured on January 6, 2008.

The following day, US Central Command announced the capture of a wanted individual who “previously served as a judge of an illegal court system involved in ordering and approving abductions and executions.”

In his interrogations, Al-Mawla offered up details of terrorist plots to his interrogators, while minimizing his own involvement. He identified many jihadists by name and offered descriptions of their roles in the terrorist organization and details of their involvement in attacks on US-led coalition forces during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Al-Mawla — a former officer in Saddam Hussein’s army and once Baghdadi’s speechwriter — emerges from the TIRs as a mysterious personality with a vague past, whose ethnicity could not be determined with certainty. The statements in the reports are rife with contradictory elements and open to a wide range of interpretations. As the authors point out in their introduction: “It is incredibly difficult to ascertain whether what Al-Mawla divulges regarding himself or ISI (the forerunner of Daesh) as an organization is true.”

Details of the specific demographics of Al Mawla’s birthplace of Al-Muhalabiyyah in Iraq’s Tal Afar district are sketchy, but it is generally accepted to have a predominantly Turkmen population. The authors of the report point out that some sources have suggested “this could pose legitimacy problems for him because (Daesh) mostly has Arabs in its senior leadership echelons,” but add that at least two other senior members of the group were reported to have been Turkmen.

Al-Mawla also claimed to have avoided pledging allegiance to ISI because he was a Sufi. The report’s authors cast doubt on that claim, given his quick rise to prominence in the terrorist group and the fact that ISI and Daesh branded Sufism as heresy.

But the authors do believe the TRIs give some valuable insights into Al-Mawla’s personality.

“The fact that he detailed activities and gave testimony against (fellow jihadists) suggests a willingness to offer up fellow members of the group to suit his own ends,” they wrote. “The amount of detail and seeming willingness to share information about fellow organization members suggests either a degree of nonchalance, strategic calculation, or resignation on the part of Al-Mawla regarding operational security.

“He appears to have named individuals in some capacity across all levels of the organization, while describing some individuals in some detail,” they continued.

The US Department of Justice has offered a $10million reward for information about Al-Mawla’s identification or location.