The Israeli army said on Monday it was investigating into an incident in which its soldiers shot a Palestinian teenager while he was blindfolded and handcuffed.
Osama Hajahjeh, 16, said he was trying to run from soldiers when he was shot on Thursday. He said the incident began after a funeral for a school teacher in his village of Tuqu, who had been hit by a car driven by an Israeli while walking at a busy intersection.
Hajahjeh said school was let out early for students to attend the funeral. After the burial, he said he was tackled by a soldier who jumped out of an olive grove and forced him to the ground. He said his hands were cuffed and his eyes covered with a cloth blindfold.
— Richard Hardigan (@RichardHardigan) April 19, 2019
Hajahjeh told AFP news agency by phone from a hospital in the Palestinian town of Beit Jala, near Bethlehem:
“They shot me the first time while I was trying to change my sitting position because they sat me on thorns.”
According to the teenager, he was hit in the right thigh the first time.
“I started walking towards the villagers asking for help,” he added, then the soldiers “shot me again and hit my left thigh.”
Palestinian Teenager, 16 Year Old Osama Hajahjeh Shot By Israeli Army ‘While Blindfolded And Handcuffed’ In West Bank https://t.co/7I9ziMcI66
— Bob Garcia (@1reddragon696) April 23, 2019
He said that he had two operations and was in a stable condition.
The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said the incident was the latest in a series of what it called unjustified shootings on Palestinian teens and young men.
It says four Palestinians in their late teens or early twenties have been killed in the occupied West Bank since early March.
Palestinian teen says was shot while held by Israeli troops
Osama Hajahjeh, handcuffed and blindfolded, runs away from Israeli soldiers [Mohammad Hmeid/AP Photo]
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The army has challenged the Palestinian witness accounts, but also frequently announces investigations into disputed cases.
Roy Yellin, a spokesman for the group B’Tselem, said:
“Like the previous four cases we investigated, this is an example of Israel’s reckless use of lethal fire and the fact that the human lives of Palestinians count very little in the eyes of the army.”
B’Tselem has long criticized military investigations, saying they rarely result in punishments and alleging they’re used to whitewash abuses by troops.
(AJE, PC, Social Media)