IDF opens inquiry into killing of Palestinian protester last week

Video of soldiers hauling wounded Qusay Umour, 17, from the scene by his arms and legs sparked outrage

IDF troops carry a Palestinian teen who later died of a gunshot wound during a violent protest near Bethlehem on January 16, 2017. (screen capture: YouTube)
IDF troops carry a Palestinian teen who later died of a gunshot wound during a violent protest near Bethlehem on January 16, 2017. (screen capture: YouTube)

The Israel Defense Forces opened an investigation into the army’s treatment of a Palestinian teenager killed in a protest on January 18, after video footage of the incident showed soldiers hauling the body of the wounded protester away from the scene of the riot.

The IDF said the shooting occurred during a “violent riot” in which Palestinian hurled rocks at security forces in the Bethlehem-area village of Tuqua, near the settlement of Tekoa in the Etzion Bloc.

The Tuqua municipality identified the youth as 17-year-old Qusay Hussein Umour, who the IDF described as an “instigator” of the protest.

The video published online shows Umour lying on the ground, apparently after he was shot by Border Police troops during the clashes.

The soldiers are seen rushing over to the teen. They lift him off the ground by his limbs and carry him to an armored vehicle. The troops can be seen providing medical treatment shortly thereafter and are then pelted by stones and firebombs.

The IDF defended the soldiers’ conduct in the incident, saying in a statement on the day of the shooting that after soldiers identified that Umour was shot, “an IDF unit reached the injured to provide him immediate medical treatment. During the evacuation, stones were thrown at the force in a way that endangered it, and therefore the injured was evacuated quickly to a secure location where medical treatment was provided, which concluded in pronouncing [the man’s] death.”

In announcing its official investigation into the incident, in conjunction with Military Police, the IDF indicated it was no longer certain the soldiers had conducted themselves correctly.

Numerous Palestinians have disputed the IDF’s version of events, with the Ma’an news agency quoting the Palestinian Red Crescent as saying that Umour was detained by Israeli forces after being shot three times, and only handed over to the Palestinians for medical treatment after he had died.

Palestinians expressed outrage at the manner in which he was treated by Israeli servicemen. At Umour’s funeral, a relative said after seeing the video that the soldiers “dragged him in a brutal way to the military vehicle. Nobody in the world would do that,” the Ma’an reported.

The IDF said Umour was still alive when he was moved by the soldiers, and said he had only been shot once, not three times.

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