A human rights group has demanded that the army investigate the killing of a Palestinian teen after footage showed soldiers dragging the youth’s bullet-ridden body to their vehicle with his head banging on the ground. Only then did the soldiers offer medical care.
The Israel Defense Forces Spokesman’s Office said the teen was evacuated hastily because the soldiers were being pelted with stones. The incident would be investigated, it added.
On Monday, the Border Police shot and killed 17-year-old Qusai al-Imour during clashes in the West Bank village of Tuqu near Bethlehem. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, Imour was hit by four bullets in his upper body and two in the legs. Four other Palestinians were wounded, including Imour’s sister.
The IDF said the teen had thrown stones at the Israelis, who responded by firing Ruger rifles. The army allows the use of Rugers to disperse stone-throwers, even though the gun fires live, albeit small-caliber, ammunition.
The Palestinian photographer who filmed the incident told Haaretz that Imour had stood under a tree and tried to hide from the Border Police, who were a few dozen meters away. But his upper body was exposed.
According to the photographer, the teen was shot in the upper body and fell, before the soldiers came and dragged him away. Imour did not move after he was shot.
Mohammad Awad, the head of the Red Crescent in the Bethlehem area, told Haaretz that a Red Crescent ambulance had arrived but remained at a distance from the soldiers and was not allowed to approach.
“I saw from a distance that they were resuscitating him,” Awad said. “I don’t know whether he was alive or not, but about half an hour later, the Palestinian District Coordination Office told us to send an ambulance to the [army’s] Gush Etzion command post to collect the body.”
After the photographer’s footage was released, Physicians for Human Rights asked the Military Police to open an investigation. The group sent copies of the request to the military advocate general and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.
“The suspicion arises that there is a connection between the way the military force behaved before and during the evacuation of the wounded teen and the deterioration of his medical condition,” attorney Mahmoud Abo Arishah wrote in a letter.
“We ask that you look into why the wounded teen wasn’t examined before the military force moved him, why he wasn’t moved on a stretcher, and why he was carried so aggressively when he seems to have offered no resistance.”
MK Ayman Odeh (Joint List) also harshly criticized the army. “The very fact that live fire is used at demonstrations is grave and unacceptable. But the cruelty and indifference with which the soldiers treated Imour’s wounded body is intolerable and shocking,” he said.
“This is the true and ugly face of the occupation. An occupying army cannot be moral because the nature of its mission contradicts conscience and morality.”
The IDF has already begun investigating the incident. Its initial inquiry found that the soldiers seen in the footage had come to evacuate Imour. But because they were being pelted by stones, the soldiers decided to take the Palestinian to their vehicle before giving him first aid.
“During violent disturbances in which some 200 Palestinians from Tuqu participated, which included the throwing of rocks and firebombs at the security forces, a border policeman responded by firing at one of the rioters. After the injury was noticed, an IDF force went over to the wounded teen in order to give him immediate medical treatment,” the IDF said in a statement.
“During the evacuation, stones were thrown at the force in a way that endangered it, and therefore the wounded teen was quickly evacuated to a safe place where medical treatment began. At the end of it, he was declared dead. The incident will be investigated.”
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