Israeli Military Shuts Investigation Into Fatal 2014 Shooting of Palestinian Teen

A border policeman has been indicted for shooting live ammunition that killed another protester at the same site, but the IDF has found no evidence any of its troops firing live bullets.

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A Palestinian youth hovers over a teen killed at a 2014 protest in Beituniya
A Palestinian youth hovers over a teen killed at a 2014 protest in BeituniyaCredit: AP
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

Israeli military prosecutors have shut an investigation into the death of Palestinian teenager killed during Nakba Day protests at the West bank town of Beituniya two years ago. 

Mohammed Abu Taher, 16, was one of two teenagers killed at the May 2014 protest. 

The Israel Defense Forces has notified human rights groups that a few days ago that Chief Army Prosecutor Brig. Gen. Sharon Afek has decided to shut the investigation into Abu Taher's death. The prosecutors said no evidence has been found that the 16-year-old died as a result of IDF gunfire.

Months after the protest, a border policeman was charged a for the fatal shooting of the other teen, Nadim Nawara, 17The indictment says the policeman had an M-16 with a special attachment to fire rubber bullets, but that he swapped those bullets for regular ammunition. After Nawara thew a stone at the forces he shot him in the chest, causing his death, the charge sheet says.

Israeli soldier shoots at protesters in Beituniya in 2014.

Dozens of Palestinian protesters threw stones at police and IDF forces on the scene. The IDF said afterwards that soldiers did not fire any live ammunition, but Palestinian witnesses said the troops did use regular bullets.

Investigations were launched after security camera footage showed that both Abu Taher and Nawara were at a great distance from the forces so it made no sense for a rubber bullet to have had such lethal results.

An autopsy showed that Nawara was shot by live ammunition. Abu Taher's family refused an autopsy.

Haaretz reported at the time that a soldier from an IDF communications unit fired rubber bullets at the demonstrators in Beituniya and video footage shows that afterwards the gun was confiscated.

The IDF attorney for operational affairs, Lieutenant Colonel Adoram Rigler said that the investigation showed that the soldier had opened fire without authorization. Since no evidence was found of any causalties as a result of this gunfire, prosecutors ordered the soldier put before a disciplinary tribunal for unauthorized activity.

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