A video released by Israel’s leading human rights group, B’Tselem, appears to corroborate eyewitness accounts that a Palestinian youth who was shot dead by a senior Israeli officer 10 days ago was fleeing at the time and not, as the army maintains, posing a danger to soldiers.
Colonel Yisrael Shomer, commander of the Binyamin Brigade in the occupied West Bank, is under military police investigation for the shooting in al-Ram, north of Jerusalem. It came after the youth, Mohammed Ali-Kosba, 17, threw a stone that smashed the windscreen of his vehicle. According to an army spokesman Lt-Col Peter Lerner, the officer and soldiers got out of the vehicle and opened fire only after “they sensed further danger”. Army officials said Colonel Shomer had carried out a procedure that permits shooting at a suspect’s legs in order to arrest him.
But in the video, after the vehicle is stoned and stops, two soldiers can be seen to emerge and chase the fleeing teenager. A third soldier waits near the vehicle and no further stone throwing is seen. The shooting itself is not captured on the video.
Colonel Shomer was praised for acting properly by senior army officials and the Education Minister, Naftali Bennett. But B’Tselem’s investigation found the shooting was “unjustified and unlawful”. Medical evidence showed that one bullet hit the side of Mohammed’s face and two struck him from behind. “The location and entry points of the injuries corroborate the details provided by the eyewitness accounts and by the video footage, according to which he was shot in the back while running away from the soldiers,” B’Tselem said.
Basel Ghattas, an Arab member of the Knesset, termed the shooting “cold-blooded murder”.
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