Israel’s military is pointing to a series of Facebook postings by a Palestinian man to show that he wanted to die attacking Israelis.
Anas Alatrash was shot and killed last Thursday at a checkpoint near Bethlehem. Soldiers say Alatrash, 23, got out of his car and charged at soldiers with a knife. He was shot after ignoring warnings to stop.
The shooting angered Palestinians, who demanded an investigation. His father claimed the shooting was unprovoked: “They stopped my two sons at the checkpoint and they were waiting to be checked. Then the soldiers came to the car and opened the door and my son tried to get out and they shot him.”
Dozens who attended Alatrash’s funeral in Hebron threw rocks and firebombs at nearby troops.
But the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) point to Alatrash’s own words, posted on Facebook in the days preceding the shooting, to show his intent.
First, he posted an image containing a Quranic passage that says “We belong to God, and to him we shall return.” It’s a verse often used after someone has died, the IDF explained: “The fact that Alatrash posted it two days before he died strongly suggests that he was preparing to take his own life.”
Then, just a few hours before the checkpoint clash, Alatrash posted another message that the IDF says shows the young man was preparing to die: “God, take me to you. Your servants have been making it hard on me.”
The statements fit with a man who charged armed soldiers with a knife. “Like many Palestinian terrorists before him,” Alatrash wanted to die trying to kill Israelis, the IDF says.