A teenage Palestinian killed by a senior Israeli army officer last week was shot in the back and side while apparently fleeing, according to medical evidence and multiple Palestinian witness reports.
Mohammed Kasbeh, 17, was among a group of stone-throwers near a major Ramallah checkpoint when they broke the windscreen of a passing brigade commander’s car with a rock. He died after being shot several times in his upper body by the officer.
After shooting Mohammed, the officer allegedly kicked the dying teenager on the ground before leaving the scene.
The killing of Mohammed near the Qalandia checkpoint last Friday received widespread coverage in the Israeli media, both because of the seniority of the officer involved – a brigade commander, Col Yisrael Shomer, and because of the support he received immediately after the shooting from senior members of Israel’s government, including education minister Naftali Bennett
The killing was given extra prominence because two of Mohammed’s brothers – aged 15 and 11 – were also killed by the Israeli military during the second intifada, while a third brother survived being shot.
The incident occurred in the early morning when an Israeli vehicle in which Shomer was travelling with other soldiers drove along a section of road between the Palestinian neighbourhood of al-Ram and the Qalandia checkpoint towards a gate in the separation wall used by the Israeli military.
What appears not to be in dispute is that at a roundabout close to the Qalandia checkpoint a group of youths threw stones at the vehicle, breaking its windscreen. It is what happened next that is at the centre of the disputed claims.
According to the first account of the Israeli military, under a hail of rocks Shomer exited the car and – fearing for his life – shot and killed one of the group amid continued stone-throwing.
Multiple Palestinian eyewitnesses, however, tell another story. They claim that the Israeli car pulled over by the side of the road and two or three soldiers exited, chased the fleeing youths for a few metres before Shomer paused, took aim and shot Mohammed several times as he ran away – claims that seem consistent with the medical examination of his body.
As Mohammed lay dying, say witnesses, Shomer approached him and kicked or pushed him with his foot before leaving and driving away.
None of the officers in the car suffered any injuries.
A medical report – obtained by the Guardian – supported by an interview with the doctor who examined Mohammed when his body was admitted to hospital – describes how he was shot in the back and obliquely in the side of the head – not front on – with the most serious injury a gunshot wound penetrating his upper left back. A second bullet entered his mouth – also from the side – becoming lodged in his jaw.
A description of the fatal shooting by two Palestinian witnesses interviewed by the Guardian suggests – if these accounts are accurate – the Israeli soldiers involved were in breach of the military’s own recommendations over the use of live ammunition in attempted arrests – appropriate for a fleeing individual – firing at the upper body, not the legs.
Fadi Ziad was working at a petrol station about 30 metres from where Mohammed was shot. “It was around 6.30 in the morning,” Ziad told the Guardian. “There were three young guys at the roundabout who were throwing rocks. A jeep came past – not one of the ordinary ones but one the officers use – and they threw rocks at it.”
For More: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/08/palestinian-teenager-shot-back-senior-israeli-soldier-mohammed-kasbeh