JERUSALEM // An Israeli soldier was detained on Thursday after shooting a wounded Palestinian in the head and killing him as he lay on the ground.
The incident was captured in a video released by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem, which called it an “execution”.
The video, taken by a Palestinian volunteer for the group, shows the Palestinian, who along with another man had allegedly stabbed a soldier in the West Bank city of Hebron, lying on the ground, apparently after being shot. He slowly moves his head at one point. About a minute later, a soldier raises his rifle, cocks the weapon and fires. Blood is then seen streaming from the Palestinian’s head.
Palestinian health minister Jawad Awwad called the shooting a “war crime”.
The man shot in the head was identified as Abdul Fatah Al Sharif, 21, while the other Palestinian was Ramzi Al Qasrawi, also 21.
“It is clear that the Palestinian youth who was one of the two who stabbed the soldier was lying on the ground without posing any risk to security services,” said Sarit Michaeli, a spokeswoman for B’Tselem.
“The security personnel around him are not treating him in any way like he is a danger. The soldier is simply seen shooting him in the head.”
The Israeli military said the soldier had been detained and an investigation had begun into the “grave breach of values”.
Israeli medics said the soldier wounded in the stabbing was in moderate condition.
The incident threatens to further inflame tensions amid a wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence since October and has left 200 Palestinians dead. Twenty-eight Israelis were killed in Palestinian attacks during the same period.
Most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, according to Israeli authorities, but Israeli forces have been accused of using excessive force in some cases.
Israeli military chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot caused waves when he warned against excessive force during a speech in February.
Gen Eisenkot said that “when there’s a 13-year-old girl holding scissors or a knife and there is some distance between her and the soldiers, I don’t want to see a soldier open fire and empty his magazine at a girl like that”.
He was thought to be referring to an incident in which two Palestinian girls aged 14 and 16 armed with scissors and stabbed an elderly man in Jerusalem in November, injuring him slightly.
A police officer opened fire, killing one girl and seriously wounding the other. CCTV footage appeared to show that one of the girls was shot again while already on the ground.
Police investigators decided not prosecute the officer as there was no evidence of criminal intent in his actions, Israeli media reported.
* Agence France Presse with additional reporting from Associated Press