Postmortem shows Israeli soldier fired fatal shot

Abdul Fatah Al Sharif was wounded but alive before he was shot in the head, Palestinian doctor says,

Israeli soldiers carry the body of one of two Palestinians shot in the West Bank city of Hebron on March 24, 2016. Abed Al Hashlamoun / EPA
Powered by automated translation

Jerusalem // A postmortem on a Palestinian assailant has shown that he was killed by a bullet to the head, backing a manslaughter case against an Israeli soldier caught on video shooting him.

The soldier shot Abdul Fatah Al Sharif in the head on March 24 as he lay on the ground while seriously wounded from earlier gunshot wounds.

Video of the incident in Hebron in the occupied West Bank spread widely online and the soldier was arrested, with rights groups labelling it a summary execution.

Prosecutors have said they are investigating the 19-year-old soldier for manslaughter, though he has not yet been charged. His identity has been kept secret.

Israel’s supreme court allowed the Palestinian’s family to have a doctor of their choice observe the postmortem.

“After a full autopsy, the fatal wound was in the head,” the Palestinian doctor, Rayan Al Ali, said.

“There were several gunshot wounds. All those wounds were in the muscles, the lower limbs, and there was a wound in his right lung, but it was not fatal and did not lead to his death.”

A finding that Al Sharif was already dead when the soldier shot him in the head could have complicated the investigation.

Israeli authorities had not yet commented on the autopsy.

Video showed the 21-year-old Palestinian lying on the ground, shot along with another man after stabbing a soldier minutes earlier, according to the army.

Another soldier then shoots him again, in the head, without any apparent provocation.

His lawyers have argued that the soldier may have thought the Palestinian was wearing explosives, but he was reportedly already checked for a suicide belt and no one in the video appears to be acting with caution toward him.

The case has threatened to exacerbate Israeli-Palestinian tensions amid a wave of violence that began in October.

It has also led to major controversy in Israel and sparked political tensions, with far-right supporters calling for the soldier’s release.

Violence since October has left more tha 200 Palestinians and 28 Israelis dead.

Most of the Palestinians were shot dead by security forces after carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, according to Israeli authorities.

But Israeli forces have also been accused of using excessive force in some cases, charges which they have so far denied.

* Agence France-Presse