IDF probing footage of smoke grenade thrown at Ramallah residents

IDF probing footage of smoke grenade thrown at Ramallah residents

Video appears to show soldiers facing no obvious threat apparently attempting to frighten Palestinian men

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

The Israel Defense Forces opened an investigation on Tuesday into video footage that appeared to show soldiers throwing a smoke grenade at a group of Palestinian men sitting outside a shop in Ramallah, the army said.

The security camera footage, apparently captured on Monday night, was released on Palestinian social media, and a copy was provided to The Times of Israel from the Palestinian outlet Ramallah News.

In the film, a military jeep can be seen pulling up near the group of young Palestinian men. Due to the quality of the video, it’s not clear if the troops and the men conversed with one another.

After a few seconds, the vehicle pulls away and just before it goes off-screen, an object coming from its direction lands next to where the men are sitting. The men appear to panic and run away, knocking over chairs, before the device explodes in a burst of light and smoke.

After several hours, the IDF responded to requests for comment with the laconic: “The event is being reviewed.”

The incident comes a day after the Justice Ministry’s Police Investigations Department decided not to press charges against two Border Police officers who were caught on film taking an 8-year-old Palestinian girl’s bicycle and putting it in nearby bushes. The department determined that the officers’ conduct in the July 25 incident was “inappropriate and unprofessional,” but that the punishment should be disciplinary and did not warrant criminal prosecution.

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