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Fleeing Palestinian Stone Thrower Shot in Back

A Palestinian youth killed after throwing rocks at an Israeli officer’s vehicle in the West Bank was shot dead after fleeing the scene, security camera footage obtained and released by the human rights group B’Tselem appears to show.

The officer, Binyamin Brigade commander Col. Yisrael Shomer, has been investigated under caution by Military Police.

Mohammad Kosba, a 17-year-old from the Qalandiyah refugee camp north of Jerusalem, was shot dead by IDF fire about 10 days ago after he threw a rock at Shomer’s vehicle near the West Bank village of Al-Ram.

According to the IDF, after stones were thrown at the vehicle Shomer initiated the IDF-sanctioned procedure to arrest Kosba, in which it is permissible to shoot at a suspect’s legs.

In the video, soldiers are seen quickly exiting the jeep after a rock hit it and broke the windshield, but it does not show that the force continued to come under attack after the first rock hit. As the soldiers exit the vehicle, Kosba can be seen running in the other way.

The camera also does not show the shooting itself, but after about 30 seconds, the soldiers are seen returning to the jeep and driving away. According to B’Tselem, Kosba had fled by this time, and was not a danger to the soldiers.

Kosba was rushed to the hospital in Ramallah where he was declared dead. B’Tselem researcher Iyad Hadad, who photographed Kosba’s body, said the Palestinian had been hit by three bullets, one in the face and two in the back. There is no indication of gunshot injuries to Kosba’s legs, as shooting a suspect during the process of an arrest would have produced.

These pictures, together with the security video, were handed over to the IDF military police, which is investigating Kosba’s death. B’Tselem says that the support given to Shomer by politicians and senior IDF officers raise doubts as to whether the military can properly investigate the case.

The brief time that elapsed before the soldiers returned to the jeep, as well as the photos taken by the researcher, raise questions as to whether the procedure for arresting a suspect had indeed been followed. B’Tselem says that the soldiers left without helping the wounded Palestinian and it regards the incident as a breach of IDF orders that require proper medical assistance be rendered to a wounded person.

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