Video: Israeli soldiers shoot Palestinian from behind

Mourners carry the body of Muhammad Habali during his funeral in Tulkarm, occupied West Bank, after the 22-year-old was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers during a raid on the city on 4 December.

Shadi Jarar’ah APA images

Israeli occupation forces shot and killed a Palestinian man during a raid on the West Bank city of Tulkarm on Tuesday.

The Israeli military claimed that its forces opened fire during “a violent riot … in which dozens of Palestinians hurled rocks.”

However security camera footage appears to show that Muhammad Habali, 22, was shot while he was walking away from the direction of the soldiers’ fire and posed no conceivable threat to anyone:

The short clip shows men standing around in a street and walking away and occasionally looking around their shoulders and gesturing, presumably at Israeli soldiers.

A man carrying a thin pole, like a broomstick, walks in the same direction as the rest of the men, but more slowly. The video shows him falling forward onto the street, presumably after he has been shot from behind.

Palestinian health officials told media that Habali was shot in the head.

The video shows that Habali and the other men were walking away from the apparent source of the gunfire, contradicting the Israeli military’s statement that soldiers opened fire in the context of “riots.”

Another video shows Habali’s lifeless body lying on the street, suggesting that Israeli soldiers made no attempt to provide him first aid:

The video shows local people evacuating Habali in an ambulance, after assuring themselves that Israeli soldiers had left the area and it was safe to approach him.

Area residents told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency that “Habali is a disabled man who worked at a coffee shop in the city until late night hours.”

A photo of Habali circulated on social media following his death:

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a leftist faction, said that the “execution” of Habali was in retaliation for Israel’s failure to capture Ashraf Naalwa, a Palestinian from a village near Tulkarm who is suspected of shooting and killing two Israelis at a settlement industrial plant in early October.

Of the nearly 300 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces so far this year, more than 30 were shot and killed in the occupied West Bank – several during raids on cities, villages and refugee camps.

Deadly raids

In late October, Muhammad Mahmoud Bisharat, 23, was shot and killed and two others were critically injured during a raid in the village of Tamoun, near the town of Tubas.

Bisharat’s brother told the Ma’an News Agency that the young man had met with friends to repel occupation forces from the village but they were ambushed by soldiers who opened heavy fire towards them.

In July, occupation forces shot 14-year-old Arkan Thaer Hilmi Mizher in the chest, killing him, during a raid on Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem.

Israeli soldiers shot Yasin al-Saradih, 35, in the stomach during a raid on Jericho in February, killing him, in what the human rights group Al-Haq said may amount to a war crime “giving rise to individual criminal responsibility at the International Criminal Court.”

Immediately following the incident the Israeli military first alleged that al-Saradih had attacked soldiers with a knife and tried to steal one of their guns. They also claimed that army medics treated al-Saradih on the scene – both claims contradicted by the eyewitness testimony and video footage obtained by Al-Haq.

Israel has conducted an average of 84 military search and arrest operations per week in the West Bank this year, according to the UN monitoring group OCHA.

Pre-dawn raids, undertaken without a warrant or notice while residents are typically asleep, are used to ensure Israel’s “subjugation of the Palestinian population and as a method of social control,” Al-Haq states.

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Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is the managing editor of The Electronic Intifada and lives in Chicago.