Clashes Erupt After Palestinian Shot by IDF Succumbs to Wounds

Death of Mustafa Aslan, 22, brings Palestinian death toll in operation to rescue kidnapped Israeli teens to five.

An archive photo of the Qalandiyah checkpoint outside Ramallah, July 2013.
An archive photo of the Qalandiyah checkpoint outside Ramallah, July 2013.Reuters

A Palestinian man who was critically hurt by Israel Defense Forces gunfire during a riot in the West Bank late last week died on Wednesday.

Mustafa Aslan, 22, a resident of the Shoafat refugee camp, was shot in the head at the Qalandiyah checkpoint on Friday. He was taken to the Hadassah Medical Center at Ein Kerem, where he succumbed to his wounds. Conflicting reports about his condition came out at the time, some saying then that he had passed away.

Rioting at Qalandiyah renewed following the news of Aslan's death. According to the Israel Defense Forces, some 250 Palestinians gathered in the area on Wednesday. The military initially used tear gas and stun grenades in an attempt to disperse the riot but eventually resorted to firing rubber bullets. One Palestinian was hurt.

Aslan's passing brought the death toll in Operation Brother's Keeper, which aims to rescue three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped in the West Bank, to five.

On Sunday, Palestinian officials reported that a man, 30, was shot to death by the IDF in Ramallah. According to the reports, Mahmoud Ismail Atalla was fired upon while standing on a rooftop. It appeared some time had passed before Atalla's body was found.

On Friday a Palestinian teenager, Jihad Mohamed Duadin, 16, died after being shot in the chest during a clash with the IDF in the village of Dura. An initial inquiry indicated that a paratroopers' unit accidentally fired on Duadin while trying to disperse a riot.

While the military operation to find the three teens, Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrah and Naftali Fraenkel, who were abducted on June 12, continued, the IDF scaled down its activity against Hamas on Wednesday. The army said Wednesday the operation would go on but would focus on the main objective – finding the youths and the Hamas cell that abducted them.

The arrests of nearly 300 Hamas operatives and 58 prisoners who had been freed in the 2011 deal to free abducted soldier Gilad Shalit, and the raids on charity organizations associated with Hamas have run their course, a military source said. The army also removed some of the roadblocks it set up in Hebron. However, infantry units continued to comb the area northwest of Hebron in an effort to find the kidnapped youths.

On Tuesday night 17 Palestinians were arrested in Nablus, Hebron, Tul Karm and Bethlehem, as well as a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Bethlehem.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Wednesday that the defense establishment will continue to “turn every stone and do everything we can to find the three abducted youths and lay hands on the abductors.”

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, meanwhile, vowed that the army will continue to search for the missing youths “day and night.”