Israeli forces shoot unarmed Palestinian in back of head, footage appears to show

PA health ministry says Ameed al-Jaghoub critically hurt by gunfire during clashes in West Bank’s Beita; ‘Circumstances under investigation,’ says Border Police spokesman

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Israeli soldiers and Border Police officers operate in the West Bank town of Beita, August 21, 2023. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP)
Israeli soldiers and Border Police officers operate in the West Bank town of Beita, August 21, 2023. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP)

A seemingly unarmed Palestinian man was critically wounded after being shot in the back of the head by Israeli forces in the northern West Bank town of Beita, south of Nablus on Monday afternoon.

In a graphic video circulated by Palestinian media outlets, the man was seen being shot while walking away from members of Yamas — the Border Police’s elite undercover counterterrorism unit — and toward another Palestinian wounded by Israeli forces.

Palestinian media reports claimed that the man, named as Ameed al-Jaghoub, had died of his wounds, but the Palestinian Authority health ministry said his condition was critical.

A Border Police spokesman told The Times of Israel that while officers had operated in Beita to detain a wanted Palestinian man, a “violent riot developed.”

During the riot, which “greatly endangered the lives of the troops,” Palestinians hurled cinderblocks and stones at the Yamas officers, the spokesman said.

The spokesman said officers used various riot dispersal means against the Palestinians, and resorted to using live fire, including with “Ruger” sniper rifles, as the intensity of riots increased.

Warning: Graphic footage.

The .22-caliber round from a Ruger rifle is considered less lethal than the larger caliber rounds typically used by the military. Human rights groups have condemned the use of the rifle for riot control, however, as it can still kill. Troops typically fire the Ruger rifle at the lower body of rioters, rather than at the head, which can be deadly.

“The circumstances of the incident are under investigation,” the spokesman said regarding the video.

Another five Palestinians were wounded in the clashes, the PA health ministry said.

The incident came days after the Military Police’s Investigatory Unit launched a probe on Friday into footage showing an Israeli soldier shooting an unarmed Palestinian man near the West Bank city of Qalqilya.

Violence has surged across the West Bank over the past year and a half, with a rise in Palestinian shooting attacks against Israeli civilians and troops, near-nightly arrest raids by the military, and an uptick in revenge attacks by extremist Jewish settlers against Palestinians.

A string of Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank this year have left 29 people dead and several others seriously wounded, including the killing of an Israeli woman near Hebron on Monday, and an Israeli father and son in Huwara on Saturday.

According to a tally by The Times of Israel, 173 West Bank Palestinians have also been killed since the beginning of the year — most of them during clashes with security forces or while carrying out attacks, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under unclear circumstances, including by armed Israeli settlers.

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