Israeli troops shot fleeing Palestinian teen who threw rock, video shows

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian teenager as he ran away after throwing a rock at their car, video footage shows.

A surveillance camera at a gas station in the Palestinian village of A-Ram showed that Muhammed al-Kusbah was shot in the back as he fled, putting into dispute an Israel Defense Forces statement that Col. Yisrael Shomer felt threatened by the teen in the July 3 incident near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The video was obtained and distributed on Monday by the B’Tselem human rights nongovernmental organization.

Al-Kusbah, 17, died in a Ramallah hospital after suffering three bullet wounds to the upper body.

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Palestinian youths threw stones and rocks at an Israeli army command car while it was driving through A-Ram en route to an nearby army base. None of the soldiers were hurt, but the windshield of their vehicle was shattered.

The video shows that the soldiers shot at al-Kusbah from a distance of about 10 yards, and returned to their vehicle and drove away without getting medical help for the teen. The video does not show the teen being hit by the bullet.

“The claim that Al-Kusbah posed a mortal threat to the soldiers at the time of the shooting, having fled the scene, is unreasonable,” B’Tselem said in a statement accompanying the video link. “There is no doubt that the shattering of the jeep’s front window with a stone endangered the passengers when it happened. However, al-Kusbah was shot in the back after the fact, when he was already running away and posing no ‘mortal threat’ to the soldiers. Feeling a sense of danger is not enough to justify any action.”

Shomer is being investigated by the military police.

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