Palestinian shot dead by troops in West Bank scuffle; IDF says he tried to grab gun

Footage shows man struggling with soldiers near settlement of Ofra; military says Ahmad Kahla, 45, refused to be questioned, violence ensued

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

A Palestinian man is seen scuffling with troops near the West Bank settlement of Ofra, January 15, 2023. (Screenshot: Twitter)
A Palestinian man is seen scuffling with troops near the West Bank settlement of Ofra, January 15, 2023. (Screenshot: Twitter)

A Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli soldiers on Sunday morning near the West Bank settlement of Ofra, north of Ramallah while scuffling with troops after refusing to be questioned, the military and Palestinian health officials said.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, troops identified a suspicious vehicle near the settlement that allegedly refused to stop for a routine inspection.

“Following the identification of this suspicious activity, the soldiers used riot dispersal means in order to detain one of the suspects in the vehicle,” the IDF said in a statement.

The army said a “violent confrontation” began, during which the suspect attempted to grab a soldier’s gun. “The soldiers used live fire toward the suspect,” the IDF said, adding that he was hit.

Unclear partial footage of the incident showed the man scuffling with troops, before gunshots ring out.

The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry said the man had been killed by the gunfire. He was named as Ahmad Kahla, 45, from the nearby Palestinian town of Silwad.

Initial, unconfirmed reports by Hebrew-language media had suggested the suspect and several others were first hurling stones at a nearby military post and said the man then ran toward troops while allegedly brandishing a knife, before being shot.

The IDF did not say Kahla was armed or had been hurling stones in its statement.

The army added that the incident would be investigated further.

 

The incident came during an Israeli anti-terror offensive, mostly focused on the northern West Bank, to deal with a series of Palestinian attacks that killed 31 people in 2022.

The IDF’s operation has netted more than 2,500 arrests in near-nightly raids. It also left 171 Palestinians dead in 2022, and another 13 since the beginning of the year, many of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, though some were uninvolved civilians.

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