IDF forces in the area around Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
The Israeli military is investigating the death of a Palestinian man after an IDF soldier fired shots in response to rocks being thrown at vehicles on the road outside Bethlehem.
According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 26-year-old Ahmed Jamal Mahmoud, from the West Bank village of Wadi Fukin near Bethlehem, was shot dead and another Palestinian was critically injured by IDF gunfire.
They were evacuated to the Beit Jala Hospital by the Palestinian Red Crescent, where Mahmoud was pronounced dead shortly after arriving.
IDF opens investigation of Palestinian death outside Bethlehem, March 21, 2019 (Reuters)
The IDF put out a statement Thursday morning saying that Mahmoud’s death would be investigated and that an investigation by the Military Police has been opened.
According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, the military is investigating the possibility that Mahmoud was throwing stones not out of nationalistic motivations but for criminal reasons, as he was not aiming solely for Israeli vehicles but at all cars on the road.
An initial investigation was conducted by Judea and Samaria Division commander Brig.-Gen. Eran Niv and Etzion Regional Brigade commander Col. David Shapira.
“The incident began Wednesday night at the Efrat junction at the southern end of Bethlehem when an IDF soldier identified a suspect who threw stones at vehicles in the area,” the military said, adding that the soldier then began the procedure to arrest the suspects but opened fire after they did not comply.
“As a result of the shooting, the suspect was killed and another Palestinian was wounded,” the IDF said.
Mahmoud is the fourth Palestinian to be killed by Israeli troops since Tuesday night, when 21-year-old Rae’d Hamadan and 20-year-old Zaid Nouri were killed by IDF troops, who opened fire on their vehicle after they had lobbed Molotov cocktails outside Nablus.
Also on Tuesday, security forces found and killed 19-year-old Omar Abu Laila, who two days earlier had murdered two Israelis and critically injured a third in a deadly terror attack outside the West Bank settlement of Ariel.
On Wednesday, Palestinian government spokesperson Yousef al-Mahmoud condemned the killing of three Palestinians in the West Bank, Maan News Agency reported.
Israel, he was quoted as saying, is “deliberately making the situation worse with the killing of Palestinians.”
According to a report in Haaretz, Fatah and other Palestinian factions called for a period of mourning to be declared throughout the West Bank as well as general strikes, and for Palestinians to demonstrate over the killings.
Hamas meanwhile has warned that it would respond to the deaths and that “all options are open for the resistance fighters to respond to the occupation’s crimes. The occupation’s persistence in committing crimes in the West Bank will not weaken our people’s determination to continue their resistance.”
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