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Israeli Vigilantes Avoid Murder Charge in Killing of African Mistaken for Stabber

Four Israelis, including a soldier and a prison officer, were charged on Tuesday with aggravated assault in connection with the death of an Eritrean national, who was shot and beaten after being mistaken for a gunman during an attack in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba on Oct. 18.

An Arab citizen of Israel shot and killed one person and wounded 11 in the incident. He was shot dead, and a security guard also fired at the Eritrean, wounding him.

READ: African Immigrant by Israeli Mob in Mistaken Identity

The Eritrean, an asylum-seeker, was then set upon by the four defendants, who prosecutors said kicked him as he lay on the ground and hit him with a bench. He died of his wounds.

The security guard, who authorities said had acted reasonably in the heat of the shooting attack, was not charged.

The incident came as ordinary Israelis have become increasingly jittery over a wave of violent attacks.

Since Oct. 1, Palestinian stabbings, car-rammings and shooting attacks have killed 24 Israelis and a U.S. citizen. The wave of bloodshed has raised fears of wider escalation, a decade after the last Palestinian uprising subsided.

During the period, Israeli forces or armed civilians have killed at least 141 Palestinians, 90 of whom authorities described as assailants. Most others have been killed in clashes with security forces.

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