A 16-year-old boy died Wednesday during surgery at Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center, almost a month after he was shot by a cop and seriously injured in the Bedouin town of Arara in disputed circumstances in the aftermath of the Knesset elections.
Issa Talqat was shot by a police officer in the Negev town during celebrations of the Islamist Ra’am party’s election result. The incident occurred on November 1 after election exit polls were published, handing Ra’am five Knesset seats.
A police statement released at the time said that “vehicle drivers driving wildly in Arara were suspected of endangering an officer,” adding that a teenager was moderately to seriously hurt.
Talqat, who witnesses say was walking on the sidewalk when he was shot, was hospitalized with neck injuries and had been making a recovery. At one point he was even walking in the hospital, attached to medical devices. But he had difficult surgeries ahead of him, and he was pronounced dead Wednesday just a few minutes after the start of an operation to install a feeding tube in his body.
The officer who shot Talqat has been questioned by the Police Internal Investigations Department, a Justice Ministry body that probes alleged police wrongdoing. He said he had suspected that one of the drivers nearby was trying to run him over.
Local residents have countered that the officer shouldn’t have used live fire, and that the boy who was shot wasn’t connected with the wild driving. An unnamed relative was quoted by the Kan public broadcaster as saying cops had tried to stop one of the cars and shot toward it when the driver didn’t stop.
“He was walking on the side of the road toward his home on election day, when a cop who shot toward a car hit him,” Talqat’s uncle, Riyad, was quoted as saying by the Ynet news site. “He had recovered and was freely talking and walking around. We were with him at the hospital yesterday and felt like he would return to the family, but now he will unfortunately return dead.”
Riyad said it remains to be seen whether medical negligence caused his nephew’s death, but he added that “in any case, police should not have fired shots on such a day, and it is responsible for the severe outcome.”