After performing an extensive investigation into the death of a Palestinian amputee during a violent Gaza riot, Israeli military police determined that IDF snipers did not kill the man.
By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News Staff
After investigating the death of Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, a Palestinian double amputee reported dead after a violent protest near the Gaza border fence in December, Israeli military police determined that IDF sniper fire had in fact ended at least one hour before Palestinian reports claim Abu Thuraya was injured, reported Ynet.
The Military Police investigation refutes the claim of Gazan officials and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, who had almost immediately blamed Israel for killing the wheelchair-bound man. Hussein put out a strongly-worded statement, saying in part, “Given his severe disability, which must have been clearly visible to those who shot him, his killing is incomprehensible – a truly shocking and wanton act.”
But the two snipers from the Maglan special forces unit who had been in the area of the riot at the time and were questioned under caution in recent weeks firmly denied the claim.
“We are trained to accurately hit our targets,” one of the snipers told his investigators, according to the report. “And in any event, the instruction is to shoot at the lower part of a key instigator’s body. There’s no chance we killed him. We are trained to detect injuries after every shooting, and when that happens we see people gather around the wounded person. In this case, it didn’t happen.”
About 1,000 Palestinians had taken part in the violent disturbance near the Gazan fence, which had been called to protest US President Trump’s announcement earlier that month recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Some hurled stones and Molotov cocktails as well as a pipe bomb, while others rolled burning tires at the fence.
The investigation found that snipers only fired three times that day at those identified as key instigators. For the most part, other, non-lethal crowd-dispersal means were used.
The report confirmed the results of the initial IDF investigation, which said that while it was “impossible” to determine what caused his death, “No live fire was aimed at Abu Thuraya.” An investigation on the division level had also discovered that Abu Thuraya, who was a common sight at similar protests, had visited his family on the night before the riot and told them goodbye, as he was intending to become a martyr.
Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Major General Yoav Mordechai called at the time for the Red Cross to obtain the medical records from the hospital to find out what had really happened to the disabled activist, stressing the importance of uncovering the truth.
“We have to put an end to the industry of rumors, exaggerations, and lies which incense public discourse and incite to violence,” Mordechai said.