TEL AVIV — A top IDF officer said over the weekend that Palestinian reports claiming an IDF sniper shot a wheelchair-bound Palestinian protester are not based on facts.
Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh, a Palestinian Hamas activist who lost both his legs in a 2008 Israeli airstrike, was killed during a protest along the Gaza border fence on December 15.
Hamas claimed he was targeted by an IDF sniper, but when the military sought to conduct an investigation into his death, the Palestinians refused to cooperate and he was hastily buried.
The officer in charge of liaisons with the Palestinians, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, wrote on his Arabic Facebook page on Saturday that there was “no basis for the false reports that a sniper deliberately targeted” Abu Thurayeh.
Mordechai wrote that he had asked the International Red Cross to share its records of the injuries Abu Thurayeh sustained during the demonstration in order to “determine the truth and end the conspiracy of lies that incites violence.”
After Abu Thurayeh’s death, Palestinian reports accused the IDF of killing him without offering any proof that the bullet was fired by an Israeli gun.
While Mordechai’s statement did not deny that Abu Thurayeh may have been killed by Israeli soldiers, the military denied that the amputee was targeted.
The military spokesperson’s unit said in a statement issued on Sunday:
“The findings of the investigation were that the riot in which Abu Thurayeh participated was extremely violent and included thousands of rioters. Additional riots took place across the Gaza Strip.
“Rioters hurled rocks, burned tires and hurled explosive devices toward IDF troops with the aim of harming soldiers and destroying security infrastructure. Riot dispersal means were used in order to disperse the crowd. Few controlled shootings were carried out towards main instigators. Troops received approval prior to shooting each round by a senior commander in the field. No live fire was aimed at Abu Thurayeh. It is impossible to determine whether Abu Thurayeh was injured as a result of riot dispersal means or what caused his death.”