Temple Mount Casualty Count Reduced by Arab Rights Group
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Temple Mount Casualty Count Reduced by Arab Rights Group

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The exact number of Arabs killed by Israeli security forces in the Temple Mount rioting Oct. 8 remains uncertain, 17 days after the incident precipitated the worst wave of Arab-Jewish violence in Jerusalem in 23 years.

Al Haq, the Palestine Human Rights Information Center, announced Thursday that it has revised its figure of fatalities downward from 21 to 17.

The center, run by Faisal Husseini’s Arab Studies Institute, listed an 18th victim, whom it said was shot by a person in civilian clothes near the Church of the Holy Sepulcher on Oct. 8. That person died of his wounds Wednesday.

But Jerusalem police spokesman Aharon Elchiany said the authorities investigating the riot were sticking to their original figure of 19 Arab fatalities at the hands of the police.

Initially, Arab sources had claimed 21 casualties, while Israelis said there were 19. The media had variously reported “at least 19” and “as many as 24 casualties.” Reports most frequently claimed 21 Arabs had lost their lives in the incident.

The government-appointed committee that is investigating the volatile episode is expected to complete its report with non-binding recommendations Friday. There is speculation that the three-man panel, headed by a former chief of Mossad, will recommend the dismissal of several senior police officers as a consequence of the fatal shootings.

Meanwhile, Judge David Heshin, whom the police appointed an investigative judge in the affair, has upheld a request by the father of one of the victims to participate fully in the probe.

The father, who suspects his son was killed by police although he had not participated in the riot, will be given full access to the material and will be allowed to participate in the questioning of witnesses.

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