Israel to probe killing of Palestinian activist

14:03, July 13, 2010      

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Israeli army on Monday ordered the military police to investigate the killing of a Palestinian activist who was struck and killed by a tear-gas canister fired by Israeli soldiers 15 months ago.

Bassem Abu-Rahmeh, a 30-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank village of Bil'in, was killed on April 17, 2009 when a tear-gas canister hit him in the chest. Israeli soldiers who fired the shots were using the tear-gas to disperse the crowd in an anti- fence demonstration, in which Abu-Rahmeh was taking part.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) refused to open a criminal investigation into the incident as the soldiers involved said that the lethal canister had hit a wire on the separation barrier and changed direction.

But after Israeli forensic experts found that the canisters were fired directly at the protesters in violation of the open- fire regulations, Judge Advocate General Avichai Mandelblit ordered the probe.

The IDF said Abu-Rahmeh was in a group of Palestinians hurling rocks at the troops. But video materials taken during the demonstration showed that Abu-Rahmeh was not throwing rocks when he was hit.

The footage also showed that during the protest, soldiers fired tear-gas canisters directly at demonstrators in the presence of high-ranking officers, according to a statement sent to Xinhua from the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem.

Source: Xinhua


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