Israeli Soldiers Shoot Bound, Blindfolded Palestinian Teen Trying to Flee

The minor was detained for suspected stone throwing in the West Bank, then shot in the groin. Palestinians managed to evacuate the suspect to receive medical treatment after arguments with the soldiers

Yotam Berger
Yotam Berger
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Palestinian teen Osama Hajajeh attempting to flee Israeli soldiers, Tuqu, West Bank, April 18, 2019.
Palestinian teen Osama Hajajeh attempting to flee Israeli soldiers, Tuqu, West Bank, April 18, 2019.Credit: Mohammad Hmeid
Yotam Berger
Yotam Berger

Israeli soldiers shot on Thursday a restrained Palestinian teenager they had detained for suspected stone-throwing as he was attempting to flee, although he was blindfolded and handcuffed.

The soldiers pursued the detainee near the Palestinian village of Tuqu in the West Bank. At the time of the shooting, the suspect was blindfolded and handcuffed, while he made an attempt to flee.

The suspect was kept detained at the scene even after he had been shot, however, after clashes between soldiers and Palestinians at the scene, the Palestinians evacuated the suspect to receive medical treatment.

According to the Palestinians who were present at the scene, the wounded man is being treated at a clinic Beit Jala near Bethlehem and is not under Israeli military supervision.

>> Gideon Levy: Israeli soldiers shot the teen because live fire is their only language

Palestinian teen Osama Hajajeh bounded and blindfolded by Israeli soldiers, Tuqu, April 18, 2019.Credit: Mustafa al-Badan

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 24

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The Israeli army confirmed the event and said that the Palestinian was shot while attempting to flee, adding that the incident will be investigated. A military source confirmed that the suspect was handcuffed at the time of the shooting, and said that he was evacuated "jointly" by the army and the Palestinians.

A video filmed by Palestinians immediately after the incident, however, shows two soldiers in commando uniforms, one holding a sniper rifle, clashing with a large group of Palestinians, including several women, who were attempting to evacuate the wounded man.

One of the soldiers, an officer, is seen dressing the detainee’s wounds with the help of two Palestinian women while another soldier threatens other Palestinians in the area not to come closer or “they’ll get a bullet, I’m not kidding.” The soldier issuing threats holds a sniper rifle and aims a handgun at a Palestinian man standing near him.

The bounded and blindfolded Palestinian teen, April 18, 2019.Credit: Mustafa al-Badan

The soldier says “[medical] treatment is coming,” while continuing to aim his handgun at a nearby Palestinian. The wounded Palestinian is then taken away by two other Palestinians.

At first, the soldier appears to struggle with the Palestinians attempting to evacuate the wounded man while they hold him in their arms. At the end of the video, the soldiers give in and the Palestinians manage to evacuate the wounded man. The man appears to be bandaged in the groin, where he was shot.

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A witness who was present at the scene, Musa Hamid, age 50, said he arrived about 15 minutes after the boy was shot. According to Hamid, the boy is 15 years old. "I told them that we have to help him or else he'll die," he said. "Me and another guy took the boy, and others began shooting in the air, we walked about 150 meters toward the IDF forces… They started throwing stones at the soldiers, and the soldiers ran away. We stayed with the boy, and some guys came and took him to get medical treatment. He was seriously wounded in the leg," he added.

The Palestinian teen being evacuated for medical care, April 18, 2019.Credit: Mustafa al-Badan

According to the Israeli army spokesperson: “Disturbances have occurred recently involving Israeli cars on the road near the Arab Tuqu,” referring to the Palestinian village, as opposed to the nearby Israeli settlement of Tekoa.

“On Thursday there was an incident, which included massive stone-throwing near IDF forces and Israeli cars on the road, risking the lives of civilians and soldiers. The soldiers responded with riot dispersal methods and arrested one of the demonstrators, who tried to flee after his arrest," the statement said. "He was detained nearby and shortly thereafter he began to flee from the squad again. The squad immediately began a pursuit, during which the detainee was shot in the lower body. The squad offered the Palestinian first aid immediately. The incident will be investigated," they added.

However, the Palestinian was in cuffs while he attempted to flee. Thus the procedure of “pursuit” is unclear. Moreover, the footage from the scene shows that he was also blindfolded. A military official confirmed that the Palestinian was cuffed and said he had been evacuated for treatment “jointly” by the army and Palestinians. It is unclear what “joint evacuation" means, since the video shows that he was evacuated by Palestinians over the protests of the soldiers.

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