IDF, Palestinian officials jointly probe death of Arab protester in Bil'in

IDF says tear gas was fired after rocks were thrown by demonstrators as they attempted to damage the security fence.

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April 18, 2009 23:54
1 minute read.
IDF, Palestinian officials jointly probe death of Arab protester in Bil'in

Bilin fight 248.88. (photo credit: AP)

A 30-year-old Palestinian man was killed on Friday after being struck in the chest by a tear gas canister fired by security forces during a weekly demonstration to protest the route of the West Bank security fence in Bil'in. The man has been named a Bassam Ibrahim Abu Rahma, of the village. He was taken to a Ramallah hospital, where he died of his injuries. The IDF said tear gas was fired after rocks were thrown by demonstrators as they attempted to damage the security fence. But demonstrators insist Abu Rahma was not hurling rocks, adding that he stood 30 meters away from the security forces. The IDF has launched an investigation, and the head of the IDF's Civil Administration, Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, has asked Palestinian security forces to take part in the inquiry. Israeli and Palestinian security officials met later on Friday to discuss the investigation. Abu Rahma is the brother of Ashraf Abu Rahma, who was shot in the leg by an IDF soldier with a rubber bullet as he was bound and gagged in Bil'in last year. The soldier was subsequently indicted and his brigade commander, Omri Burberg, quit his post. The latest incident is the second to involve new tear gas canisters in as many months. On March 13, US citizen Tristan Anderson was critically injured by a new form of long-range tear gas canister fired by a Border Police officer during an anti-security fence demonstration in the West Bank village of Nil'in. In that incident, a canister struck the ground after being fired by the officer, and then ricocheted back up into the air, striking the American protester in the head. The IDF is investigating that incident.


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