The Israeli police alleged in a statement on Saturday that the 32-year-old man, identified as Iyad Halak, was “holding a suspicious object that appeared to be a gun.”
The statement added that the man was asked to stop by Israeli officers stationed near the Lion’s Gate, a main entrance to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, but ran away when ordered to stop.
Israeli forces then briefly chased him on foot and opened fire.
Palestinians said Halak, a resident of Wadi al-Joz neighborhood in East Jerusalem al-Quds, had been on his way to a special needs educational institute in the Old City where he studied.
They added several bullets had been fired towards the ill-fated, mentally-challenged Palestinian man, and that he was left on the ground bleeding for a while until he died.
His father said Israeli forces searched the family home after the shooting, despite the fact there was no evidence Iyad was armed.
An initial investigation has reportedly been opened into the matter and two Israeli police officers were questioned over the shooting.
Ofer Cassif, a member of the predominantly-Arab Joint List party at the Knesset (Israeli parliament) said the man’s death was “murder by police” as a result of the Israeli regime’s incitement.
The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, also reacted to the incident, saying it attests to the criminal and sadistic nature of Israeli authorities.
“Such incidents will further provoke the uprising of our struggling nation. The uprising will not stop until the Occupier (Israel) has withdrawn from all of our entire Palestinian land,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said in a press statement.
He added, “The terrorist behaviors of the leaders of the Occupation in addition to their thirst for Palestinian blood confirm the extent of the crime committed by some parties seeking to normalize ties with the regime. The continued efforts of such parties will make them accomplice to the Occupier in shedding the blood of Palestinians.”
The shooting came a day after Israeli troops killed a Palestinian father of five children, identified as Fadi Adnan Sarhan Samara, 37, over an alleged car-ramming attack near Nabi Saleh village, northwest of the central West Bank city of Ramallah.
His family denied the car-ramming allegations, and said the man lost control of his car after Israeli settlers opened fire at it.
Tensions have been on the rise in recent weeks in the occupied territories as Israel has pressed ahead with its plans to annex large parts of the West Bank in line with US President Donald Trump’s so-called Middle East peace plan, which strongly favors Israel and has been rejected by the Palestinians.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was sworn into office for another term on May 17, has set July 1 for the start of cabinet discussions on extending Israeli sovereignty over settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley.
In response to Israel’s decision, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared the end of all agreements signed with Israel and the United States on May 19.