IDF to investigate shooting of blindfolded Palestinian teenager

Footage showed him being shot as tried to run away from an Israeli soldier


The IDF is investigating the conduct of its soldiers after footage emerged last Thursday of a Palestinian youth being shot while running away while he was blindfolded and his hands bound. 

Osama Hajahjeh, 16, was hit by a bullet in his leg and remains in a stable condition in a Palestinian clinic. 

He was detained by the soldiers near the village of Tekoa south of Bethlehem, following an incident in which he was suspected of having thrown stones at Israeli vehicles.

The IDF spokesman unit said he was shot while trying to run away and that he was then treated “jointly” by the IDF and Palestinian medical personnel. 

From photographs and video of the event, it is clear that the boy was under the guard of an Israeli soldier while bent down, bound and blindfolded, and then began to run away from the soldier when he was shot.

In an interview with AP, he said he had been arrested for no reason after returning from a funeral of a teacher from his school who was killed in a road accident with an Israeli car.

According to the IDF, there had been “a violent disturbance which included massive stone-throwings towards IDF forces and Israeli vehicles, which endangered lives” and that the teenager was one of the rioters. They confirmed the soldiers “fired towards his lower body” when he tried to run away.

In the interview, Osama Hajahjeh said “I got confused” and stood up, and then “immediately, I was shot in my right leg. Then I tried to run, and I was shot in my left leg and fell on the ground.” 

The footage appeared to suggest there was a further altercation between the soldiers and the Palestinians treating him, while an Israeli officer used Hajahjeh’s belt as a tourniquet. After a few minutes, the Palestinians were allowed to evacuate him for treatment. 

According to military sources, the soldiers involved are from the elite “Oz” commando brigade. The IDF confirmed “the incident will be investigated”, although it is not clear whether this will be an operational debriefing or will include the IDF’s legal branch. 

Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem says it has documented four cases in the past two months in which Palestinians have been shot and killed by IDF forces in the West Bank. It said this was “yet another example of reckless use of lethal fire, and that human lives of Palestinians count very little in the eyes of the army.”

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