IDF to probe death of Palestinian in Nablus raid

Death occurred during arrest raid in West Bank; IDF sources stress investigation does not mean shooting of Palestinian was breach.

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July 14, 2011 05:36
2 minute read.
Palestinians carry body from IDF Nablus raid

Palestinains body Nablus raid funeral_311. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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Military Police will launch a criminal investigation into the death of a Palestinian killed during an IDF-arrest operation in the West Bank on Wednesday, in line with the Military Advocate General’s new policy which requires the immediate opening of a probe.

In April, Military Advocate- General (MAG) Maj.-Gen. Avichai Mandelblit announced a new policy under which Military Police will immediately open criminal investigations into the deaths of Palestinians – who are unarmed, or not immediately identified as terrorists – as part of a bid to minimize criticism of IDF action in the West Bank.

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IDF sources stressed on Wednesday though that the opening of the investigation did not mean the shooting of the Palestinian was a breach of the operation’s rules of engagement, and that according to an initial inquiry, the soldiers acted appropriately by opening fire after the man jumped out of a window during an arrest raid and tried to flee.

Moments earlier, a bomb had been thrown at the troops as they entered a refugee camp near Nablus. Seven terror suspects were arrested during the operation.

The new MAG policy went into effect several months ago and changed the guidelines that had been in place since 2000, under which Military Police investigations were only launched after operational probes conducted by field commanders uncovered alleged wrongdoing.

Under the new policy, a criminal investigation will be opened immediately after a Palestinian, who appears to be innocent or is unarmed, is killed by the IDF – except in cases involving an exchange of fire. For this reason, the new policy does not apply to the Gaza Strip.



According to the IDF, the soldiers opened fire at the man’s legs after he tried escaping an area where they were operating and arresting terror suspects. Palestinian medical sources identified the man as 22-year-old Ibrahim Sarhan and claimed that he was shot in each of his thighs, and was dead by the time he reached the hospital. Sarhan had been on his way to dawn prayers when he was shot, his uncle, Ismail Sarhan, told Reuters.

The man’s death came as tensions between Israel and the Palestinian Authority remain high over Ramallah’s intention to unilaterally declare statehood in September at the United Nations General Assembly. The IDF is concerned that the move will set off a new wave of violence in the West Bank.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday a Kassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in a field near a kibbutz in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council. A second rocket fell in the Eshkol region on Wednesday afternoon. No one was injured in the attacks.

On Tuesday night, the Air Force struck two targets in the northern Gaza Strip which the IDF claimed were used for weapons production. The airstrikes came in response to two rockets fired from Gaza into Israel on Tuesday.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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