A 46-year-old Israeli Jewish man died on Friday morning after being shot by a security guard at the Western Wall in Jerusalem\’s Old City.
The shooting took place at the public restrooms adjacent to the Western Wall plaza. The man apparently yelled "Allahu akbar!" (Arabic phrase "God is great") and motioned to pull an object out of his pocket, prompting a security guard to open fire at him out of fear that the object was a pistol.
Magen David Adom paramedics tried to resuscitate the man, but he died from his wounds about 20 minutes after he was shot. No one else was wounded in the shooting.
Immediately after the incident, the Western Wall was shut to visitors. Police have launched an investigation into the shooting.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the security guard opened fire because he suspected the man was a Palestinian terrorist.
"The fact he shouted \’Allahu akbar\’ seems to be why the security guard drew his weapon and fired a number of shots at him," he said. "We are looking into what [the dead man\’s] motives were," Rosenfeld added.
The security guard is in police custody.
An eyewitness to the shooting who knew the deceased man said he did not understand why the security guard opened fire.
"He volunteered at Chabad, working in the kitchen, cooking and serving food," the eyewitness said.
"He was very well known here [at the Western Wall], but he was a loner, with his parents in France. He was very bitter toward [the Israeli government and institutions]. Just before [the shooting], he was reading a newspaper and we talked."
Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz issued a statement saying he regretted the shooting.
"This is a tragedy," Rabinowitz said, adding he had "every faith in the police investigation into the matter."