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Israeli police kill unarmed special needs Palestinian in Jerusalem

Eyad al-Halak, a 32-year-old from Wadi al-Joz, Jerusalem, the second Palestinian killed in two days amid heightened annexation tension
Eyad el-Halak, diagnosed with autism, attended and worked in a special-needs school just metres away from where he was killed (Twitter)

Israeli police fatally shot an unarmed autistic Palestinian man in Jerusalem on Saturday on suspicion that he was carrying a weapon, Israeli and Palestinian media reported. 

According to Arab48 newspaper, the victim is Eyad al-Halak, 32, from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Wadi al-Joz. 

The Palestinian paper said Halak had a "special needs" disability, while the Israeli newspaper Haaretz ​​​said the man attended and worked in a special-needs school just metres away from where he was killed. 

Halak's family told Haaretz that their son, diagnosed with autism, was unarmed, and "wasn't capable of harming anyone".

"Police units on patrol there spotted a suspect with a suspicious object that looked like a pistol. They called upon him to stop and began to chase after him on foot. During the chase officers also opened fire at the suspect," Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. 

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Eyewitnesses told Haaretz that the police searched Halak's home and questioned his family after the incident.

The secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation Saeb Erekat condemned the incident.

"Israeli Occupation Forces in East #Jerusalem assassinated Iyad Khayri, 32 a disabled Palestinian. A crime that will be met with impunity unless the world stops treating Israel as a state above the law &@IntlCrimCourt fulfils its mandate," he said in a tweet.

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Another Palestinian, Fadi Adnan Qaad, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers on Friday while he was driving his car in the occupied West Bank. The Israeli army said the driver accelerated in the direction of a number of soldiers and hit their bench, but they managed to get out of the way. 

Qaad's family denied he attempted to carry out an attack, and said he was on his way to pick up his wife and children.

Israeli Army Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi issued an alert to army commanders over possible violence in the occupied territories earlier this week after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again confirmed his plan to annex parts of the West Bank, according to the Israeli media.

Tensions have flared in recent weeks as a result of the annexation announcement, with the Palestinian Authority halting all agreements and understandings with Israel and the United States, including security coordination.

Arab states, the United Nations and European countries have warned against the Israeli move, which would annex the land Palestinians seek for a state. 

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