A volunteer Border Policeman shot and killed a Palestinian man during a patrol for undocumented migrants at the Yarkon Cemetery in Petach Tikva on Saturday. In response, the Justice Ministry's Police Internal Investigations Department announced it had launched an investigation.
The Palestinian man who was killed hailed from a village near Nablus in the West Bank and, according to police, had a criminal background for stealing property.
Border Police spokesman Shai Hakimi said that the event, which began on Saturday shortly after 7:00 a.m., happened during a patrol for undocumented migrants -- a routine operation carried out frequently throughout the country.
The volunteer border policeman, a 35-year-old from the area, was on duty with several Israel Border Police officers, including other volunteers, in the Yarkon area. Together, the group had identified some 40 undocumented migrants; 18 were identified in the cemetery alone.
"At some point, I identified an illegal migrant, I called out to him to stop and he responded by starting to take off," the volunteer policeman told his superiors.
"I chased after him, and he stopped just when he got to a construction site. I saw him surrender at which point I saw that he was raising a sharp object. I fired a few single shots toward him," he said.
A crew of Magen David Adom paramedics called to the scene pronounced the Palestinian man dead on site.
Hakimi stressed that internal investigators reached the scene shortly after the shooting and were able to collect an account of the incident from the volunteer himself. Investigators said their work would continue.
Responding to the incident, a police source who declined to give his name said, "Even with all the grief over the death of the illegal migrant, known to police, let's not forget that just recently there were several incidents resulting in the deaths of innocent civilians. We have a duty to identify them and deal with them to keep them away. Certainly not at any cost and certainly not with outcomes like this. This is a serious incident and will be thoroughly investigated by the Internal Investigations Department. Still we have to understand that if an illegal migrant bends down and lifts a sharp object, the onus also falls on him."