Palestinian shot at West Bank checkpoint after failing to stop on command

Police say man, who was moderately injured, walked in car lane of Qalandiya crossing, ignored calls to halt; incident comes after violent clashes nearby

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

A Palestinian man lies on the ground after he was shot for failing to listen to security guards at the Qalandiya checkpoint and approaching them in a suspicious way on December 7, 2020. (Courtesy)
A Palestinian man lies on the ground after he was shot for failing to listen to security guards at the Qalandiya checkpoint and approaching them in a suspicious way on December 7, 2020. (Courtesy)

A Palestinian man was shot and injured after he refused to heed the calls of security guards at the Qalandiya checkpoint on Monday afternoon, police said.

According to police, the man was walking in a section of the checkpoint reserved for vehicles.

“From an initial investigation, it appears the guards called for him to stop several times and when he did not respond to their calls, they carried out an arrest protocol in which they fired at his lower body,” police said.

The man was reportedly in moderate condition. Medics were called to the scene and took him to a Jerusalem hospital for treatment.

“The circumstances of the event are being investigated,” police said.

Videos from the scene showed the man — apparently unarmed — walking through the area surrounded by cars as security guards approach him, telling him to halt. The officers then open fire, hitting the man in the leg. He then stands up and hops on one foot toward the officers, who shoot him again.

The checkpoint was shut down in both directions after the incident.

The checkpoint has seen several similar incidents in recent years, including in August, when a Palestinian man with hearing problems failed to heed guards’ calls for him to halt. The officers opened fire at his legs, injuring him.

The shooting came amid heightened tensions in the area, including violent clashes in a nearby refugee camp between Palestinian residents and Israeli troops earlier in the morning, which resulted in injuries on both sides.

Six Israeli border troops were hurt when residents of the Qalandiya refugee camp rioted and hurled cinderblocks and other heavy objects at officers from roofs during an early morning arrest raid, the Border Police said in a statement.

All six suffered light wounds. Some were hospitalized. The troops feared for their lives and opened fire on the protesters, the Border Police said.

The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry said at least four Palestinians were injured, three of them seriously and one moderately, all allegedly from live fire. The ministry said the three serious patients were undergoing surgery, two of them after taking bullets in the chest and one having been struck in the femoral artery.

The Border Police gendarmerie had entered the camp, which lies beyond the security barrier but is within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, in order to arrest three people wanted on suspicion of car theft. Troops from the Israel Defense Forces eventually came in and arrested two of them, and all Israeli forces then left the area, the Border Police said.

The Border Police did not say what type of fire was used in the incident, which also included the use of other riot control measures.

Relatives carry the body of 13-year-old Ali Abu Aliya who was reportedly shot dead by Israeli military forces during clashes with stone-throwing Palestinians, during his funeral in al-Mughayyir village near the West Bank city of Ramallah, December 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

The incident came days after the death of a Palestinian teenager who was reportedly shot by Israeli troops during a riot on Friday. According to Palestinian reports, Ali Abu Aliya, 13, was shot in the stomach during a violent protest in Kafr Malik in the central West Bank against the establishment of a new settlement outpost.

The IDF announced a probe of the incident on Sunday. The military initially denied using live ammunition to break up the protest, saying instead that it had only used less-lethal riot dispersal weapons like rubber-tipped bullets, but later admitted that soldiers had in fact used .22-caliber Ruger rounds. Those bullets, smaller than normal ones, are often used as riot dispersal weapons as they are generally considered less lethal, though they can kill especially if used incorrectly.

Abu Aliya was buried in his home village of al-Mughayyir on Saturday. Clashes broke out between Israeli security forces and Palestinians during his funeral.

Times of Israel staff and Aaron Boxerman contributed to this report.

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