IDF to probe shooting of Palestinian

Troops mistook spade he was holding for gun; IDF kills knife-wielding assailant.

idf checkpoint 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
idf checkpoint 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni ordered a criminal military police investigation Thursday night into the alleged illegal and unwarranted shooting of a Palestinian civilian in the West Bank village of Dhahiriya earlier in the day. Meanwhile, the squadron commander of the troops involved in the incident was suspended from active duty. According to reports, his troops commandeered a vehicle, opened fire and moderately wounded a Palestinian civilian. The IDF said that following an initial investigation, "serious deviances" from IDF standards were found in the commander's conduct. The Palestinian died from wounds he received after he was evacuated to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba. The soldiers had apparently mistaken a spade he was holding for a gun before opening fire in his direction. Also on Thursday, a Palestinian was killed after he tried to stab a soldier near the Tekoa checkpoint, east of Bethlehem. The soldier fired in the air after he was pushed to the ground by the Palestinian and then another soldier beat the assailant, reportedly with a stick. The soldier who was attacked claimed that the Palestinian also tried to steal his rifle. There were no casualties among the IDF soldiers. The IDF attempted to treat the attacker at the scene and then transferred him to a Red Crescent crew at Eshkolit checkpoint. Despite attempts to resuscitate the man, identified by Palestinians as 21-year-old Jihad Sha'ar, he died of his wounds. The IDF said that the soldier beat the Palestinian as opposed to firing at his lower body - as troops are instructed to do in such an incident - because he was scared of accidentally shooting his fellow soldier who was lying on the ground. The army added that while the actions of the soldier were considered to be self-defense it was investigating the incident, specifically how many times the Palestinian was struck and whether the soldier used excessive force. Also Thursday, undercover border policemen arrested an Islamic Jihad terror suspect near Jenin refugee camp and IDF troops arrested a senior Hamas operative near Ramallah. AP and staff contributed to this report