Israeli army to probe shooting of fleeing Palestinian teen detainee

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Israel’s military said on Monday it would investigate the shooting by troops in the occupied West Bank of a fleeing 16-year-old Palestinian detainee who said he was cuffed and blindfolded at the time.

An army statement confirmed the teenager was shot and wounded on Thursday while attempting to escape but did not address the other allegations.

It said that he was seized by troops near the Palestinian village of Tuqoa near Bethlehem as part of a group involved in a “violent disturbance ... which included massive stone throwing” at Israeli troops.

It added that he twice tried to flee but on the second attempt, troops fired “at his lower body” then administered first aid.

“The incident is to be investigated,” it said.

The wounded youth, Osama Ali al-Badan, said that he was shot twice, beginning while he was still sitting in the soldiers’ custody.

Israel’s military said it could not provide further details for now beyond its statement.

“They shot me the first time while I was trying to change my sitting position because they sat me on thorns,” Badan told AFP by phone from a hospital in the Palestinian town of Beit Jala, near Bethlehem.

According to the teenager, he was hit in the right thigh the first time.

“I started walking towards the villagers asking for help,” he added, then the soldiers “shot me again and hit my left thigh.”

Badan alleged he was cuffed and blindfolded during both instances.

He said that he had two operations and was in stable condition.

Badan said he was uninvolved in stone-throwing and had been swept up in the soldiers’ pursuit of others.

Israeli media also reported that he was blindfolded and cuffed when shot while fleeing.

Public radio’s website showed an image of a young man on a rocky hillside running, with his hands fastened behind his back and his eyes covered with cloth, while pursued by a helmeted soldier as other troops watched.

It said that after a “brief confrontation” between the troops and Palestinians at the scene the soldiers allowed the villagers to take him to hospital.

“He was shot in the thigh while his back was to the soldiers,” top-selling Yedioth Aharonot newspaper said.

A video posted on Facebook purportedly from the incident showed Palestinian women gathered around a young man sprawled on the ground.

A masked soldier aims his pistol at Palestinian men nearby and warns in Hebrew, “anyone who comes near gets a bullet.”

After a brief but highly-charged standoff, men carry the injured youth away by his arms and legs.