Middle East

Israelis charged over Eritrean migrant beating

Israeli security personnel stand inside Beersheba bus station, where Eritrean Habtom Zerhom was shot and beaten to death (18 October 2015) Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Eritrean migrant was shot and then beaten by a mob at the Beersheba bus station

Four Israelis have been charged over the beating of an Eritrean migrant who was mistaken for a gunman during a militant attack last October.

Habtom Zerhom was first shot by a security guard at a bus station in Beersheba and then kicked and beaten by a crowd as he lay in a pool of blood.

A post-mortem examination found he died of bullet wounds - not the beating.

Officials said a prison officer, a soldier and two civilians were charged with aggravated battery.

Mobile footage on 18 October showed an angry crowd surrounding Mr Zerhom as he was lying injured on the floor, under a stool held over him by a member of security.

A set of chairs was then dumped on his head before he was kicked by the mob.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later urged Israelis not to take justice into their own hands.

The beating happened at the time of a deadly attack by an Israeli Arab at the same place in Beersheba.

That attacker killed an Israeli soldier and wounded 10 other people. The gunman was later shot dead.

Initial reports said two people had attacked the bus station in the southern Israeli city.

Twenty-two Israelis Israel have been killed in a wave of stabbings, shootings and car rammings by Palestinians since October, officials say.

The Palestinian health ministry says 149 Palestinians have been killed in that time.

More than half were said by Israel to be attackers. Others have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces.