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Palestinians urge ICC to charge Israel with war crimes after unarmed man with learning difficulties shot dead

PALESTINIAN authorities have renewed calls for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to fulfil its mandate regarding Israeli war crimes in Palestine after soldiers shot dead an unarmed man with learning difficulties.

Iyad Khairi Hallak was gunned down on Saturday by Israeli police in East Jerusalem, where he was attending an institution for people with special needs. He was left bleeding on the ground until he died, according to witnesses.

The police claimed that the officers had opened fire because he had “a suspicious object that looked like a pistol.” But no gun was found at the scene, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responsible for the killing.

“It is a real crime in the first place and those who committed it must be brought to justice and be convicted by the International Criminal Court,” Mr Abbas said in a statement.

The shooting took place the day after another unarmed Palestinian was killed near Ramallah. Soldiers claimed that he had driven his car at them, an allegation strongly denied by the man’s family.

After Saturday’s shooting, police raided the home of Mr Hallak in Wad el-Joz and interrogated his family.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said: “These crimes against humanity will remain the fuel for the revolution of the Palestinian people, who will carry on with their struggle until the liberation of their occupied land.”

Palestine Liberation Organisation secretary-general Saeb Erekat said Mr Hallak’s killing was “a new crime that will be met with impunity unless the world stops treating Israel as a state above the law and the International Criminal Court fulfils its mandate.”

The ICC prosecutor ruled in December that Israel can be held responsible for war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories and investigations are now under way.

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