Israel's military has said it's suspended an Israeli soldier filmed shooting dead an apparently incapicitated Palestinian man. The slain man was one of two knife-wielding Palestinians killed by Israeli troops in Hebron.
Two Palestinians, who attacked an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday, were shot dead by troops at the scene, the military said in a statement.
Fatah a-Sharif and Ramzi al-Qasrawi, both 21, had lunged at an Israeli soldier in the Tel Rumeida district of Hebron, stabbing and injuring him, the military said.
Video footage, captured by a Palestinian volunteer for the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem, seemed to show a soldier shooting a man in the head as he lay motionless on the road.
As an Israeli soldier is being collected by an ambulance in the video, the two knife attackers are seen lying wounded on the road. A close-up shows one of them incapacitated but with no visible head injuries.
An Israeli soldier then aims cocks his rifle, aims his weapon and a shot is heard, then blood can be seen running down the road.
"It is clear that the Palestinian youth who was one of the two who stabbed the soldier was lying on the ground without posing any risk to security services," Sarit Michaeli, a spokeswoman for B'Tselem, which posted the video, told AFP. "The security personnel around him are not treating him in any way like he is a danger. The soldier is simply seen shooting him in the head."
It was not immediately clear which of the men was killed by the rifle shot. But the Israeli military said the soldier's commanders had reported the incident and the unidentified soldier had been arrested.
"The Israel Defense Forces views this incident as a grave breach of IDF values, conduct and standards of military operations," military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner told the Reuters news agency. "A military police investigation has commenced and the soldier involved has been detained."
As for the wounded soldier, an Israeli hospital spokeswoman said he was in stable condition and initial checks showed he had sustained light injuries.
The UN, EU and US have backed Israel's right to defend itself during a six-month campaign of street attacks by Palestinians in Jerusalem and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, while also urging restraint in their use of force
Rights group criticize deadly force
Human rights groups have accused Israeli troops of resorting to deadly force to wound or kill attackers rather than trying to detain them by other means. In some cases, Palestinians have been shot on suspicion that they were about to carry out an attack.
The incident occurred in the West Bank city of Hebron, where there is a community of around 1,000 Israeli settlers living in the middle of the Palestinian city of 200,000. It has been the scene of many violent incidents over the past six months.
Since October, Palestinians have killed 28 Israelis and two US citizens in street attacks. Israeli forces have killed at least 190 Palestinians, 129 of whom Israel claims were assailants. Many others were shot dead during clashes and protests.
Palestinian leaders say attackers have acted out of desperation in the absence of concrete of political talks toward creating a sovereign Palestinian state. Israel claims that incitement by Palestinian leaders and on social media helps to prompt the attacks.
Israel has also closed off the West Bank for the Jewish holiday of Purim, with the security measure that affects tens of thousands of Palestinian workers to remain in place through Saturday.
It regularly implements such closures for other Jewish holidays such as Passover and Yom Kippur, though less often for Purim.
jar/msh (dpa, Reuters, AFP)