Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announces that the military prosecutor is looking into the killing of a 15-year-old Palestinian teen in Gaza, after soldiers shot a flare directly at his face.
Israel’s military prosecutor is investigating the killing of a Palestinian teenager in the Gaza Strip after IDF soldiers shot a flare at his face, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman recently announced. Footage of the incident, which occurred on September 9, shows that the 15-year-old was not posing a threat to the soldiers at the time he was killed.
The teen, Abdel-Rahman al-Dabbagh, was killed during a demonstration of around 100 people who had gathered at the border fence separating Gaza and Israel, near the al-Bureij refugee camp. A few youths threw stones towards soldiers who were stationed on the other side of the fence, and who responded by firing tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets.
The footage, seen by +972 Magazine, shows that the soldiers’ lives were not in danger and that most of them were in armored vehicles, while others adjacent to the fence were out of reach of the stones. The soldiers shot flares at the stone-throwers, in contravention of protocol — flares are not supposed to be used during the day, nor fired at a direct trajectory.
One of the flares appears to strike Dabbagh directly in the face, after which he falls to the ground with flames rising from his head. A pathology report confirmed that the impact from the flare was the cause of death.
In October, Joint List MK Dov Khenin sent a formal query regarding the incident to the defense minister, following the initial report in +972 Magazine. Khenin sought to clarify why the soldiers had shot a flare at the teen, what the army was doing to train its soldiers on the regulations for dispersing demonstrations, and whether the military police would be investigating the killing.
Liberman responded last week that the incident was under investigation and that “the investigation and additional information regarding the incident have been transferred for review by the military prosecutor.” He added that no decision had yet been reached and that no further details of the investigation could be discussed at this stage.
Khenin responded on Thursday: “The state has a two-handed policy in the [occupied] territories. One hand throws a lethal flare, against the army’s own regulations, burning and killing a 15-year-old Palestinian, Abdel-Rahman al-Dabbagh.
“The other hand covers the mouth and the ears, refuses to answer tough questions, and shuts the incident up behind the closed doors of an internal investigation.”
This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here. Translated by Natasha Roth.