A Palestinian teenager in the West Bank was fatally shot in the back last Friday while running away from Israel Defense Forces, according to a recent medical report obtained by the Guardian. Col. Yisrael Shomer, a senior brigade officer in the IDF, shot and killed Mohammed al-Kasbeh, 17, in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
The checkpoints between Israel and Palestinian cities such as Ramallah have long been places of confrontation between the Israeli military and Palestinian civilians. Al-Kasbeh is at least the second Palestinian teen this year to have been shot and killed by the IDF, following the death of Ali Muhammad Abu Ghannam in April near Jerusalem.
On July 3, Al-Kasbeh and several other Palestinian teenagers were throwing rocks at a military vehicle when one of their stones shattered a window. What followed between Shomer and al-Kasbeh is under dispute.
— Ted Kottler (@TedKottler) July 5, 2015
The Israeli military said that Shomer was fighting for his life when he got out of his vehicle under a barrage of stones thrown by the teens. Israeli leaders have come out in support of Shomer's actions. "This is the conduct that we expect from IDF commanders. The nation of Israel stands behind you," Naftali Bennett, Israel's right-wing Minister of Education, posted on his Facebook page.
Multiple Palestinian witnesses, however, said that al-Kasbeh was shot several times in the back while running away, and that Shomer kicked his body as he lay dying. The medical report now confirms these accounts of the shooting.
A Palestinian man working at a gas station next to the checkpoint said that he saw the officer get out of the jeep and fire from a distance. "The soldiers were 10 to 15 meters from the youths when they shot the one who died," Fadi Ziad said, according to the Guardian. "After he fell on the ground the soldier without the helmet went and checked him and kicked him."
— Art Healing (@ArtHealing44) July 4, 2015
Al-Kasbeh was the third person in his family to be shot and killed by the Israeli military. Two of Mohammed's brothers, aged 15 and 11 at the time, were also killed by Israeli forces during the second intifada between 2000 and 2005.
The death of al-Kasbeh followed closely on the heels of the one year anniversary of the death of Abu Khdeir, a 16 year-old Palestinian who was abducted and burned alive June 2, 2014, in the run-up to the war in Gaza last summer. IDF forces have been preparing for possible demonstrations in Palestinian territories following al-Kasbeh's death and the anniversary of Khdeir's.