Four Israeli soldiers were arrested by Military Police for allegedly causing serious injuries to a Palestinian detainee earlier this week, the Israel Defense Forces said Wednesday. The soldiers were later released from custody, following an initial inquiry.
The soldiers were suspected of causing “serious physical harm” to the Palestinian man, the IDF said.
One of the soldiers is an officer with the rank of lieutenant, according to a military source.
The incident on Sunday in the Tulkarem area of the West Bank was reported to Military Police by the soldiers’ superiors, the source added.
The soldiers, who serve in the Nahal infantry brigade, claimed that the incident on Sunday that led to the Palestinian man being seriously hurt was an accident.
Lawyers representing the officer and one of the soldiers said that “apparently the detainee tripped while being taken out of the vehicle,” according to the Ynet news site.
“The troops acted according to protocol, immediately reported the injury, and provided medical attention to the detainee immediately after his fall,” they said.
Later on Wednesday, the IDF said the soldiers were to be released from Military Police custody.
“Based on the evidence and findings found so far, it was decided that there is no longer any justification to keep the soldiers in detention for the purpose of continuing the investigation,” the IDF said.
The investigation was to continue regardless, the military added.
Last month, four Golani soldiers were charged with beating a Palestinian man in the West Bank and abandoning him. Three of them have already been sentenced to jail terms.
Those four soldiers allegedly attempted to hide the incident from their superiors, and meanwhile coordinated their versions of the events before a Military Police probe was opened.
The West Bank has been on edge for over a year, with the IDF conducting regular arrest raids amid a series of deadly Palestinian attacks.
On Tuesday, an Israeli man was shot and killed in a shooting attack near the settlement of Hermesh in the northern West Bank. The victim, 31-year-old Meir Tamari, came under fire from a passing vehicle.