Border Guard officers (illustration)
Photo: Niv Calderon
Court denies damages suit filed by terrorist's family
Haifa District Court rejects suit filed by relatives of terrorist killed in 2003 after trying to stab Border Guard officer; rules officers followed procedures, are innocent of any wrongdoing

The Haifa District Court ruled Monday against a damages suit filed by the family of a Palestinian who was killed five years ago, while trying to stab a Border Guard officer near city of Umm al-Fahem.


The court ruled that the Border Guard officers present at the time of the incident acted according to procedures when they shot the man, saying there was negligence or wrongdoing on their part; further ruling that the man's family will pay the State NIS 15,000 (approx. $4,300).


The incident, which took place in February of 2003, saw q Border Guard patrol hail Bassam Ali Samudi, 35, near Umm al-Fahm's main gas station, adjacent to Highway 65.


According to the officers' testimonies, they had intelligence indicating a gunman had infiltrated the area and Samudi, who had been lurking around the gas station, aroused their suspicions.


No wrongdoing

The officers instructed Samudi to lift his shirt, in order to make sure he was not carrying any explosives. When one of the officers approached him – with another providing cover – Samudi drew a knife, yelled "Allahu Akbar," and began stabbing the officer standing next to him.


An officer sitting in the patrol jeep fired a warning shot in midair, but since Samudi kept stabbing the officer, he than shot and killed him. One of the shots hit the wounded officers, causing him moderate injuries.


Samudi's family, however, claimed he was shot despite not provoking the officers, adding that once he was shot, the officers proceeded to "confirm the kill."


The incident was investigated by the Police Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB), which determined the officers were following procedures and ordered the case closed.


Justice Shmuel Berliner, who presided over the hearing, reiterated the IAB's conclusion: "It was made clear to the court that the deceased attacked the officer with a knife, injuring him and posing an immediate threat to his life… even of the incident could have been concluded without fatalities, the (officers') actions were all within reason, and constitute no wrongdoing."


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