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US embassy ‘heartbroken’ by killing of staffer in traffic dispute

An off-duty Border Police officer is under arrest on suspicion of murder.

A view of Jaffa and Tel Aviv. Photo by Ruslan Paul/Shutterstock.
A view of Jaffa and Tel Aviv. Photo by Ruslan Paul/Shutterstock.

The U.S. embassy in Jerusalem said Saturday it is “heartbroken” by the death of an Arab-Israeli employee, shot dead by an off-duty Israeli Border Police officer in a Jaffa traffic dispute that escalated to violence.

The officer has been arrested for the Friday killing of Jacob Toukhy, 50, and is being investigated on suspicion of murder, according to the Justice Ministry’s Department of Internal Police Investigations.

“To Jacob’s family, we and the U.S. Agency for International Development [which employed Toukhy] send our deepest condolences; we mourn alongside you. Jacob was a valued member of our embassy community for over two decades,” the delegation posted on X.

He had been employed as a driver.

Footage on social media shows Toukhy, wearing a paramedic uniform and motorcycle helmet, lying on the ground on Jaffa’s central Yehuda HaYamit Street, as the off-duty cop, wearing flip-flops, shorts and a T-shirt, bashes him in the head. In the altercation, Toukhy stabs the officer with a spike carried by paramedics to tear open patients’ clothes before gunshots are heard.

An eyewitness reported that the off-duty cop smelled of alcohol.

“Jacob Toukhy, a well-known and well-respected Jaffa resident, a social activist who volunteered in [the] Magen David Adom [ambulance service] for many years, was shot dead on the street last night,” Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai wrote on X on Saturday morning, calling the killing a “terrible incident that should not have happened.”

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