Israeli troops shoot Palestinian man in botched Hamas raid

Israel has ordered an investigation after soldiers burst into a house and shot dead a Palestinian civilian.

Amr Qawasme, 65, was killed during a pre-dawn operation to re-arrest five members of Hamas who had been released from jail a day earlier.

His widow, Sobheye, described how the soldiers entered the family home in the West Bank town of Hebron and shot her husband dead in his bed.

Western news agency footage of the victim's bed and headboard splattered with blood appeared to corroborate the family's claims.

"I was praying when they entered. I do not know how they opened the door. They put their hand to my mouth and a rifle to my head," Mrs Qawasme told Reuters, adding that she then heard shots from the bedroom.

"I was shocked. They did not allow me to talk. I asked them: 'What did you do?' They asked me to shut up."

The Hamas militant who was the target of the raid apparently lived on the floor below, although the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said Mr Qawasme was shot while "present in one of the terrorists' homes".

The shooting is the latest in a spate of deadly incidents involving the Israeli military since the start of the year and will likely raise fears of renewed tension in the West Bank. In a statement, the IDF expressed its regret for the death and promised to present the investigation's conclusions within the week.

Troops later arrested the intended target, Wael Bitar, wanted for allegedly assisting a suicide bomber who killed an Israeli woman in 2008. Some Israeli media reports stated that Mr Bitar was the nephew of the dead man.

Hamas immediately accused the Palestinian Authority (PA), which is dominated by the rival Fatah party, of being complicit with the Israeli authorities in Mr Qawasme's death. The PA had released the five Hamas members from jail a day earlier, following high-level talks between Fatah and Hamas, aimed at reconciling the rival parties. The prisoners, being held on "security" grounds, had not been charged.

The Western-backed PA has arrested hundreds of Hamas members in the West Bank since 2007, prompting fury from Hamas, which holds sway in the Gaza Strip and has engaged in tit-for-tat arrests there. Violence in the West Bank has largely fallen off in recent years.

Mr Qawasme's death brings the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli troops up to five so far this year. Soldiers shot two men they claimed were trying to breach the wall separating Gaza from Israel three days ago and a man was killed at a checkpoint near Nablus after soldiers said he failed to heed orders to halt. And a woman died last week after apparently inhaling tear gas during a demonstration.

*An Israeli soldier was killed last night by friendly fire after an incident where Palestinian militants had reportedly been seen trying to plant explosives along the border fence between Israel and Gaza.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions