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Palestinian fatally hurt on Temple Mount wasn’t hit by sponge bullet – report

Medical sources at Jerusalem hospital say Walid a-Sharif’s death was due to apparent heart attack, not police fire

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

Palestinian mourners surround the body of Walid al-Sharif who died of wounds suffered during clashes with Israeli police at Jerusalem's Temple Mount, on May 16, 2022. ( AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)
Palestinian mourners surround the body of Walid al-Sharif who died of wounds suffered during clashes with Israeli police at Jerusalem's Temple Mount, on May 16, 2022. ( AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)

A Palestinian man who died following clashes on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount several weeks ago was not hit by sponge bullets fired by police, according to medical assessments reported Monday.

Walid a-Sharif, 21, was critically hurt during the clashes on April 22. His family and Palestinian media claimed he was hit by a sponge-tipped bullet; police said he was injured after he fell and hit his head while throwing rocks.

According to medical findings reported by the Haaretz daily, a-Sharif’s body showed no signs of injury from sponge bullets. Sources at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital said he fell over as a result of a heart attack, which caused extensive brain injury and, ultimately, his death.

The report said the findings showed that his death was not caused by the blow he sustained after the fall, but rather by the brain injury, which was apparently a result of a heart attack.

The report said police sought to have a-Sharif’s body examined at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute in Tel Aviv, but the family rejected the request.

During a-Sharif’s funeral in East Jerusalem last Monday, Palestinians and police officers clashed fiercely. Six officers were lightly injured by stones hurled at them by hundreds of rioters at a cemetery near Jerusalem’s Old City. The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service said 71 Palestinians were wounded from rubber bullets, stun grenades and beatings.

Israeli police take Walid a-Sharif, a Palestinian demonstrator critically hurt during clashes, from Jerusalem’s Temple Mount on April 22, 2022, from where he was taken to Hadassah hospital. (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)

Clashes and unrest had been breaking out at Al-Aqsa Mosque, which sits atop the Temple Mount, nearly every day during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan in April.

Police published footage of what they said was a-Sharif, his face covered in a black-and-white checked keffiyeh, repeatedly throwing stones and rocks at Israeli security forces during the clashes when he was critically hurt.

Hours after his death, the Hamas terror group claimed a-Sharif as a member.

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