Israeli Army to Probe Death of Palestinian Killed in Clashes With Soldiers

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Israeli security forces spray foul-smelling water towards Palestinian protesters throwing stones towards an Israeli watch tower at the entrance of the village of Beit Omar, April 10, 2015.Credit: AFP

The Military Police’s investigations branch opened an examination into the circumstances surrounding the death of Ziad Awad, 27, the Palestinian who was killed Friday in confrontations with the Israel Defense Forces near Hebron.

The military advocate general announced the opening of the investigation as part of the official policy since 2011 of investigating every such death of a Palestinian in the West Bank who did not participate in actual “actions of warfare.” The MAG said it opened the Military Police investigation immediately after the death, and the conclusions would be passed on to him as soon as the investigation ends.

Awad was killed, and about a dozen others were injured, in clashes with IDF troops after a funeral near the village of Beit Ummar in the West Bank, said Palestinian officials. The funeral was for Awad’s cousin, Jafar Awad, who died three months after being released from an Israeli prison due to his ill health.

The Red Crescent said Awad was killed as a result of the firing of live ammunition on Friday.

An IDF force from the Golani infantry brigade reported they were attacked by Palestinians throwing rocks and firebombs, as well as burning tires. Some 700 Palestinians clashed with the troops, said the IDF. The force reported it opened fire with tear gas and stun grenades, and later fired at four Palestinians using a certain type of bullet, a 22 caliber known as “Ruger” fired from a special weapon designed for just that purpose, which have less powerful effects compared to regular live ammunition.

The IDF said it would investigate the claims concerning Awad’s death, in addition to the Military Police investigation. Awad has already been buried, so it is impossible to conduct further examinations now that could help in determining the cause of his death, said a senior IDF officer.

If it turns out that Awad was killed by these special bullets, then he would be the second such case within a month.

Ziad Awad was reportedly a relative of Jafar Awad, 22, the man for whom Friday’s funeral was held. Jafar Awad was arrested in November 2013 for alleged membership to Islamic Jihad, and was released three months ago with very severe pneumonia, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club. His family blames Israel for the death, saying he became ill in prison due to neglect. He was in hospital since his release and died on Thursday.

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The article was amended to correct a translation error on April 13.

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