An Israeli military investigation determined that a Palestinian paraplegic was not killed by Israel Defense Forces troops attempting to quell a riot near the Gaza border fence.
Palestinian health officials said Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh, 29, was shot in the head while demonstrating in Gaza in December, during protests against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Abu Thurayeh had said he lost his legs in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza in 2008.
The investigation revealed that Israeli snipers stopped firing at the riot at least an hour before Palestinians say the double amputee, who used a wheelchair, was killed, Ynet reported.
About 1,000 Palestinians participated in the violent riot near the fence on December 15, 2017. Some threw stones at the fence and hurled Molotov cocktails as well as a pipe bomb.
According to the investigation, Ynet reported, Abu Thurayeh, a regular at such protests, visited his family the night before he was killed and apologized for the fact that he would be becoming a shahid, or martyr.
In January, a Hamas-affiliated commission in Gaza said Abu Thurayeh’s autopsy showed that Israeli fire was responsible for his death.
Emad al-Baz, from the organization which Hamas tasks with gathering evidence about alleged Israeli “crimes,” told a news conference that “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.
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.
Agencies contributed to this report.