Israeli military closes probe into death of paraplegic Palestinian protester

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s military has closed a criminal investigation into the death of a paraplegic Palestinian protester on the border with Gaza in 2017.

The Israel Defense Forces said the investigation found “no evidence” that its soldiers fired the bullet that killed Ibrahim Abu Thurayya.

Palestinian health officials said Abu Thurayya, 29, was shot in the head and killed while demonstrating on the Gaza border in December. He was among five Palestinians killed that day during the weekly March of Return protests. Abu Thurayya had said he lost his legs in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza in 2008. He was an icon for protesting Palestinians, giving them strength by raising a Palestinian flag from a pole on his wheelchair  at Gaza border demonstrations.

The Israel Defense Forces called the protests that day a “violent riot” and said troops did open fire on the lower extremities of the leaders of the riot.

The IDF said it tried to obtain the bullet that killed Abu Thurayya but that Palestinian authorities did not cooperate, The Associated Press reported.