UN Calls for Probe Into Shooting of Palestinian Youths

In the wake of video suggesting the youths posed no threat to Israeli forces, top UN official calls for 'independent and transparent' investigation.

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Haaretz
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A Palestinian man shouts for help moments after Palestinian teen, Mohammad Abu Daher, on the ground, was shot to death by Israeli troops near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Thursday, May 15, 2014
A Palestinian man shouts for help moments after Palestinian teen, Mohammad Abu Daher, on the ground, was shot to death by Israeli troops near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Thursday, May 15, 2014Credit: AP
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Haaretz

A top UN official called on Tuesday for an investigation into the deadly shooting of Palestinian youths during a Nakba Day protest last week.

"It is of serious concern that initial information appears to indicate that the two Palestinians killed were both unarmed and appeared to pose no direct threat," Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, assistant UN secretary general for political affairs, said, according to AFP.

The two Palestinians, Muhammad Abu Thahr, 15, and Nadim Nuwara, 17, were shot dead by Border Police officers at a Nakba protest outside the Ofer Military Prison near Ramallah last Thursday. Palestinian hospital officials said that both were shot in the chest.

An "independent and transparent" investigation must be conducted, Fernandez-Taranco said.

On Tuesday, video footage of the shooting surfaced, indicating the victims were far away from the clashes and not in a direct confrontation with soldiers. The cameras were positioned atop a Palestinian-owned store where the incident took place.

The video, distributed by Defense for Children International Palestine, shows both youths the moment they were shot. It doesn't appear as if they presented any threat at the time of the shooting. One of them was shot when his back was turned to the soldiers.

One of the eyewitness says he heard four shots within a few minutes of each other and saw three youths injured in the chest area, two of whom were killed at the scene, while the third was hospitalized in Ramallah.

The video clearly shows the first Palestinian teen being shot at 00:48, as he was approaching a crowd of others, while the second youth was shot at 1:27, as he turned his back to the soldiers.

"The images captured on video show unlawful killings where neither child presented a direct and immediate threat to life at the time of their shooting," said Rifat Kassis, executive director of DCI-Palestine.

"Israeli authorities must conduct serious, impartial, and thorough investigations to hold the perpetrators accountable for their crimes," added Kassis.

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