An Eritrean man moves to Israel to escape violence, gets killed by a mob

The World
Israeli security personals stand next to blood on the floor, at the Beersheba central bus station where a Palestinian gunman went on a stabbing and shooting rampage, followed by a mob attacking a wrongly accused bystander, October 18, 2015.

Israeli security personals stand next to blood on the floor at the Beersheba central bus station where a Palestinian gunman went on a stabbing and shooting rampage, followed by a mob attacking a wrongly accused bystander, October 18, 2015.

Dudu Grunshpan/Reuters

Haftom Zarhum was at a bus station when a gunman opened fire. Like many others, Zarhum went to the ground for cover. But when a security guard saw him on the ground, the guard mistook him as a co-conspirator in the attack.

The guard fired at Zarhum.

"I'm certain there was a lot of confusion at the time," says Jerusalem based reporter Daniel Estrin. "But you also have to wonder whether if that security guard would have saw a lighter skinned Israeli crawling on the floor along with the other Israelis who were gathered there scared on the floor, whether we would have seen the same result."

Once Zarhum had erroneously been labeled a terrorist, a mob soon formed around him. The security footage of what happens next is rough. It involves Zarhum on the ground, pinned down by a chair and bleeding on the floor. Men shout at him, some throw a bench at him, then pick it up and drop it on him.

Zarhum died from his wounds. Israeli police are looking for the people who attacked him.

But Estrin says that his death is due to the climate in the country right now.

"It's a very personal feeling," he says. "This is not a war going on somewhere over there in Gaza that you look at on your TV screens. People here feel that it's a war. They feel that you could be walking down the street and be attacked. And because these nerves are so high, a security guard can open fire on someone who is not an attacker."