(Jerusalem, Israel -- June 1st, 2020) --StandWithUs expresses its sorrow following the death of Iyad Halak. We send deepest condolences to his family and friends for their loss.
Halak was apparently shot in error by security officers who said they thought he was holding a gun. It later became apparent that Halak, 30, who had special needs, was unarmed and did not pose a threat. It seems he had not understood the officers request for him to stop, near the Lion’s Gate in Jerusalem, which has been the site of many previous terror attacks.
We welcome Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s comments apologizing for Iyad Halak's death, saying: “We are sorry about the incident in which Iyad Halak was shot to death and we share the family’s grief”. Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid, who has frequently spoken about having an autistic child himself, said: “The death of a young person with special needs is heartbreaking and all of Israel bows their heads. This is not our way.” We identify fully with their sentiments.
We recognize how difficult it is for security personnel to stop real attacks carried out by terrorists dressed as civilians. We are confident that Israeli authorities will thoroughly look into the circumstances of this case and learn lessons to ensure this never happens again. The Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department has already begun an investigation and an officer has been placed under house arrest.
We wish the family strength as they deal with this horrific tragedy.