Two Palestinians shot by Israeli soldiers who believed them to be terrorists on Tuesday were members of Palestinian intelligence, neither of whom intended to commit a terror attack, Palestinian officials said Wednesday.
“The occupation army and settler gangs assassinated security officers of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service in cold blood,” the Palestinian Authority General Intelligence Service said in a statement.
At the time of the shooting, at the Tapuah Junction in the West Bank, Israel said it had “foiled” a terror attack and that soldiers thought that as the car slowed and rolled down a window, one of the men had a gun.
Ahmad Daraghme, a resident of the West Bank town of Laban al-Sharqiya near Nablus, was shot and killed on the scene. His colleague Mohammad al-Nubani was rushed to a hospital, where he remains in critical condition, the PA security services said.
According to Israel’s Army Radio, Daraghme was unarmed.
An Israeli military spokesperson told The Times of Israel that it is looking into the incident. According to the military, the soldiers saw that the one Palestinian was pointing a gun in their direction.
“Two Palestinians arrived at Tapuah Junction. The car slowed down as it approached. The battalion saw that one of them was holding a gun and pointing it in their direction. In response, they cocked their guns and fired,” the spokesperson said.
“Everything else is being examined,” the spokesperson said.
Daraghme’s body was also returned to his family for burial, indicating that the two shooting victims might not be considered terrorists. Israel has a controversial policy of withholding the bodies of Palestinians killed while committing acts of terror.
Hundreds of Palestinians bore Daraghme’s body through the streets on Wednesday. Palestinian Authority intelligence chief Majed Faraj, one of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s closest advisors, also attended the funeral.
“This is Israel. This is Israeli occupation, and the occupation will continue to be like this,” Nablus governor Ibrahim Ramadan, who himself served in the PA security services, told reporters at Daraghme’s funeral.
The shooting came at a time of increased tension in the West Bank. A drive-by shooting attack at Tapuah Junction in the West Bank last week killed 19-year-old yeshiva student Yehuda Guetta and wounded two others. The alleged terrorist was later apprehended by the Shin Bet.
Palestinians have held numerous marches across the West Bank in protest of Israeli policies in Jerusalem and Gaza. Repeated clashes have taken place between Israeli security forces and Palestinians, leading to the deaths of four West Bank Palestinians in the past 24 hours, including Daraghme.