Israeli rights group B’Tselem announced, on Wednesday, a report proving that Israeli soldiers used lethal force from a very close distance to kill a mentally disabled Palestinian.
On Tuesday, 4 December, 2018, at around midnight, some 100 Israeli soldiers invaded the city of Tulkarem, in the occupied West Bank.
Some of them entered four homes in different parts of the city and conducted a brief search. A few young Palestinian men came to the areas where the soldiers were and threw stones at them. The troops responded by firing rubber-coated metal bullets and teargas.
Days of Palestine further reports that, at some point during the night, about 30 soldiers came to the area of a-Nuzha Street, an east-west street in the western part of Tulkarem.
Some of the forces spread out along the street in groups of threes and fours. The others entered the alleyway opposite al-Fadiliyah Boys’ High School and raided a home, there.
Further down the street, about 150 meters away from the soldiers, several residents were standing at the doorway of the a-Sabah Restaurant and on the adjacent street.
One of them was Mohammad Habali, a mentally challenged 22-year-old from Tulkarem Refugee Camp. Habali walked back and forth, crossing and re-crossing the road.
Video footage from four security cameras installed on three separate buildings along the street shows that that area was perfectly quiet and that there were no clashes there with soldiers.
Taken together, B’Tselem’s investigation and this footage indicate that at 2:25am, an officer and two soldiers advanced towards a-Sabah Restaurant and stopped about 80 meters away.
A few seconds later, the soldiers fired four or five shots at the young men standing in front of the restaurant, and the young men fled.
Habali, who is seen in the footage carrying a long wooden stick – which he had picked up a few minutes before the shooting – was the last to leave.
After he took several steps, he was shot in the head from behind, from a distance of about 80 meters. Another shot hit M H, a resident of Tulkarem, in the leg.
About a minute after the shooting, the three soldiers are seen rejoining the other soldiers in the area and leaving, without providing Habali or M H with any medical assistance. More shots were then heard. Habali was taken to hospital in Tulkarem, where he arrived unconscious, not breathing and without a pulse.
Resuscitation attempts failed and he was pronounced dead a short while later. M H was driven to the hospital in another car, and X-rays showed a bullet lodged in his left leg.