GAZA CITY — The autopsy of a disabled Palestinian protester killed in December has shown that Israeli fire was responsible for his death, a Hamas-affiliated commission in Gaza said Monday.
Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh died on December 15, during protests and clashes along the Israel-Gaza border against US President Donald Trump’s controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
On Sunday, the justice ministry in Gaza announced that Abu Thurayeh’s body had been exhumed for the autopsy.
Emad al-Baz, from the organization which Hamas tasks with gathering evidence about alleged Israeli crimes, told a news conference that multiple tests had been conducted on the body, including X-ray scans.
“The autopsy revealed the bullet entered above his left eye and stayed in his head.”
El-Baz said the autopsy indicated the bullet was fired from some 30 meters (33 yards) away, the distance between protesters and the Israeli army.
Israel’s military said earlier this month that the Military Police was opening a criminal investigation into the death of the 29-year-old, after obtaining previously unavailable information about the incident from groups inside Gaza.
Previously, the army said Abu Thurayeh was not killed by Israeli sniper fire and that no live round had been explicitly aimed at him.
“No live fire was aimed at Abu Thurayeh. It is impossible to determine whether Abu Thurayeh was injured as a result of riot dispersal means or what caused his death,” the army said at the end of the investigation on December 18.
The military said it was hindered in its investigation by the fact that Palestinian authorities did not share the details of Abu Thurayeh’s injuries from the demonstration.
Abu Thurayeh was a well-known figure in Gaza. While relatives have claimed Abu Thurayeh lost his legs in an Israeli airstrike while trying to rescue people, The Associated Press reported that its records show that he was wounded on April 11, 2008, in a clash between Israeli forces and Palestinian operatives in the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza. AP television footage from that day shows Abu Thurayeh identifying himself, as he is taken away on the back of a pickup truck.
Abu Thurayeh’s story drew international news coverage, and thousands attended his funeral in Gaza.
On Sunday, Mohammad Al-Najjal, the deputy justice minister in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, said the autopsy results would be presented to international bodies such as the International Criminal Court.
It was unclear whether a full autopsy had been performed on Abu Thurayeh after his death on December 15
The Associated Press reported on December 28 that it had received Palestinian medical records showing that Abu Thurayeh was killed by a bullet that struck him in the head. The medical records, which included a hospital report and a death certificate, said he was struck by a bullet above his left eye and died from bleeding in the brain. The same findings were detailed in a report by the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service reviewed by the AP.
Eighteen Palestinians have been killed since Trump’s December 6 announcement, most of them in clashes with Israeli forces. One Israeli has been killed in that time frame, shot dead by gunmen in the West Bank.