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Video challenges Israel’s Kasbah claims

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An Israeli rights group on Monday released a video challenging the official Israeli account that a soldier was in danger when he shot dead a Palestinian teenager who threw a stone at the soldier’s jeep.

Mohammad Kasbah, 17, was shot dead on July 3 by Colonel Israel Shomer after throwing a stone at his military vehicle close to the Qalandiya checkpoint, south of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli army claimed that their soldiers issued a verbal warning, shot into the air to warn Kasbah, and then shot directly at him when he continued to approach them, claiming that their lives were in danger.

But Israeli human rights group B’Tselem distributed a video on Monday that shows a person fleeing from the soldiers.

The footage, taken from a surveillance camera at an adjacent gas station, shows the person initially run towards the military jeep and throw a stone at it.

The vehicle then stops, and two men are seen getting out of it and running out of the frame in pursuit of the stone-thrower.

B’Tselem cited eyewitnesses as saying that Shomer shot Kasbah “from a distance of some 10 meters (32 feet)” and then left the scene without getting medical aid for the teen, who eventually died.

“The claim (Kasbah) posed a mortal threat to the soldiers at the time of the shooting, having fled the scene, is unreasonable,” B’Tselem said. “Feeling a sense of danger is not enough to justify any action.”

Last week, Palestinian rights group Al-Haq, which has consultative status with the UN, said a field investigation found Israeli soldiers had “arbitrarily shot and killed Muhammad, who posed no threat to the Israeli soldiers’ lives at the time of the shooting.”

Al-Haq rejected not only that Kasbah had posed a threat to the soldiers’ lives but also that the Israeli soldiers had adequately warned the teenager.

“One eye witness stated that a single bullet was fired in the air,” the statement said, adding: “No other witnesses corroborated the Israeli claim that a verbal warning was issued.”

Al-Haq said that the evidence suggested that the incident took place in less than 30 seconds, “contravening the Israeli timeline of events.”

“It is impossible that the child could have been genuinely warned twice and then shot at directly and hit multiple times within the documented timeframe of a mere 30 seconds or less,” the statement said.

The rights group added that Kasbah’s wounds in his upper body “demonstrated an intent to kill.”

Kasbah was shot by several bullets, including one that hit his head.

The army on Monday refused to comment on the shooting or the video beyond stating the incident was being examined by military police, but Israeli media reported Shomer had been questioned under warning last week.

The incident was part of a series of violent altercations in the West Bank and east Jerusalem since the start of Ramadan, which ends this week.

Israel has responded to the violence by revoking permits for Palestinians living in the West Bank to visit relatives in the Gaza Strip and has limited Palestinian access to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound. MAANNEWS

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