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IDF: 'No moral or professional failure' in killing of legless Gaza protester

The Israeli military says its investigation found that no live fire was ‘aimed’ at the wheelchair-bound amputee, who along with another protester, was shot by IDF troops from across the border fence separating Gaza from Israel last week.

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An internal Israeli military investigation has concluded that there were no “moral or professional failures” in the killing of a Palestinian man with no legs, who was protesting inside the Gaza Strip, by soldiers on the Israeli side of the border fence last Friday.

In a statement sent to +972 Magazine on Monday, an Israeli military spokesperson denied that soldiers deliberately targeted Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, 29, who lost his legs in an Israeli air strike nine years ago.

“Few controlled shootings were carried out towards main instigators,” the spokesperson said, describing the findings of an investigation that was conducted over the past few days. “Troops received approval prior to shooting each round by a senior commander in the field. No live fire was aimed at Abu Thuraya.”

IDF soldiers stationed on the Israeli side of the border killed a second Palestinian man inside Gaza that day during the protests, and another seven in the past week or so. The spokesperson’s statement did not indicate that the military investigated any of those killings, which did not receive as much attention in the media.

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The spokesperson’s statement described the protest that day as extremely violent, in which “[r]ioters hurled rocks, burned tires and hurled explosive devices toward IDF troops with the aim of harming soldiers and destroying security infrastructure.”

The Israeli army investigation identified “no moral or professional failures,” and described the operational aims of suppressing the protest, which took place inside the Gaza Strip, as to prevent anyone crossing the border, to stop anyone harming the fence itself, and “to protect the sovereignty of the State of Israel.”

The army further stated that it has not been able to determine what killed Abu Thuraya.

Palestinian protesters inside the Gaza Strip throw stones in the direction of an Israeli military position on the other side of the border fence, Gaza Strip, December 8, 2017. (Ezz Zanoun/Activestills.org)

Palestinian protesters inside the Gaza Strip throw stones in the direction of an Israeli military position on the other side of the border fence, Gaza Strip, December 8, 2017. (Ezz Zanoun/Activestills.org)

For the past decade, the IDF has unilaterally maintained a lethal “no-go zone” on the Palestinian side of the border with Gaza. The army has killed at least dozens of Palestinians – and wounded countless others –  taking part in protests along the border fence over the years. Farmers and scrap collectors are also regularly targeted as they approach the fence.

Palestinians often claim that those shot were outside the restricted area. Rarely are there any allegations that those shot were armed.

The Israeli army has provided contradictory information regarding the no-go zone over the years, including the area’s specific size and its procedures for engaging (shooting at) civilians who enter it for various reasons.

Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man contributed to this report.

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    1. Itshak Gordin Halevy

      Anyone who attacks soldiers is at risk everywhere in the world.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        “Anyone who attacks soldiers is at risk….”

        According to the book you think is your real estate title and deed, Halevy, that was Pharaoh’s attitude towards the ancient Israelites, but Moses had other ideas.

        When Israel was in Egypt’s land
        Let my people go
        Oppress’d so hard they could not stand
        Let my people go

        Go down, Moses
        Way down in Egypt’s land
        Tell old Pharaoh
        Let my people go…

        Reply to Comment
    2. Mark

      Is Mairav aware that “legless” has another meaning in English?

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        The same goes for you. Here’s the other meaning in this case:

        Oppress’d so hard they could not stand

        Reply to Comment