The Israel Defense Forces said this weekend the fatal shooting of a Palestinian man in the West Bank on Thursday night is being investigated, with Israeli and Palestinian authorities presenting differing accounts.
A clear picture of the events that led to the shooting of Ibrahim Abu Yaqoub, 29, has yet to emerge. According to the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry, Abu Yaqoub was killed late Thursday night after being shot by Israeli forces in his home village of Kifl Haris, which lies in the Salfit governorate in the northern West Bank.
The IDF said that Israeli soldiers fired upon two masked attackers who attempted to throw Molotov cocktails at an Israeli military post.
One terrorist was shot and wounded, while the other fled, the IDF said in a statement. The IDF says soldiers provided first aid to the wounded assailant until he was turned over to the Palestinian Red Crescent, an emergency medical response service.
The IDF neither confirmed or denied that Abu Yaqoub was one of the attackers shot by Israeli soldiers.
“In the aftermath of the [Molotov cocktail] event, a claim was received as to a Palestinian shooting victim in the neighboring village,” the IDF spokesperson said in a statement released on Friday night, adding that “the incident is under investigation.”
Asked to clarify whether that meant Abu Yaqoub’s death and the Molotov cocktail attack were being investigated as separate incidents, the IDF declined to elaborate.
Abu Yaqoub’s friends and family claim that he was in the village with his friends at the time of the shooting and had no connection to the alleged Molotov cocktail attack.
“The southern entrance of the village has been closed off for four or five days. The young men remained about four hundred meters away from that area and from the observation post. Suddenly, they were surprised by intensive live fire…inside the village itself,” Osama Abu Yaqoub told Palestine TV.
Salfit’s governor, Abdullah Kmeil, said in a statement that Abu Yaqoub was fired upon “without any kind of justification, as he was walking quite normally with his friends.”
Hundreds of West Bank residents attended Abu Yaqoub’s funeral following noon prayers on Friday in Kifl Haris. The Salfit Fatah branch posted a public invitation asking residents to turn out. Attendees chanted “martyrs are beloved of God” and waved Palestinian flags as they bore Abu Yaqoub’s body through the village.
After the funeral, protestors clashed with Israeli Border Police in the area. During the confrontation, Border Police shot a 24-year-old man in the chest with a rubber-tipped bullet, the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry said. The demonstrator was taken to a public hospital in Salfit in stable condition.
Both Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas terror group chief Ismail Haniyeh called the Abu Yaqoub family on Friday night to extend their condolences.