Family of Slain Palestinian Says Israeli Military Shot Him ‘In Cold Blood’

Israeli army says that it is 'checking if rocks were thrown' ■ Four Palestinians were killed by the military within 24 hours in the West Bank

Ahmed Jamal Mahmoud

The family of Ahmed Jamal Manasra, who was shot to death by Israeli soldiers on Wednesday, claims the shooting took place without a reason. “All the testimonies and circumstances attest that Ahmed was murdered in cold blood,” one of his relatives told Haaretz.

The Israeli army said, however, that it is looking into the possibility that the event leading to the gunfire had been "friction between Palestinians, that included rock-throwing.”

Haaretz Weekly, Episode 19Haaretz

According to the Israeli army, inquiry into the incident found that a soldier stationed in an intersection next to the West Bank city of Bethlehem observed a person throwing rocks at cars, and followed procedure to arrest him, which ended in the gunfire. "As a result of the gunfire, the suspect was killed and another Palestinian wounded," the military said.

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A relative of Manasra’s told Haaretz that he had been shot for no reason while helping his family, which had been involved in an accident at the southern entrance to Bethlehem.

The relative added that claiming Manasra had been throwing rocks was beyond bizarre, “and the sheer fact that the army says it will investigate attests to the fact that their version of events is problematic. The question is whether the soldier who shot [him] will pay the price if it turns out that Ahmed’s blood was spilled for no reason.”

Even before his death, Palestinian groups in the West Bank called for a “day of rage” this coming Friday, after three Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces overnight Tuesday. Two were shot after throwing explosive devices at soldiers guarding Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus. The third was suspected of carrying out a deadly shooting attack this week and was shot north of Ramallah.

On Wednesday, Fatah called for a day of mourning over the three deaths and on Wednesday night, after Manasra was shot, a general strike was called in Bethlehem.

Hamas has meanwhile announced a giant protest next Friday, to mark the anniversary of the protests on the border with Israel. On Wednesday night the army announced the arrest of an unarmed Palestinian near the border fence, and earlier, Palestinian sources said Israeli jets were attacking people flying incendiary balloons in the eastern part of Gaza. The IDF did not confirm the report.

Also on Wednesday, 14 Palestinians were mildly injured by rubber-tipped bullets and tear gas in a demonstration by the Beit El checkpoint, and another protest is scheduled for Thursday in Ramallah.