The videos made public by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem were filmed from two vantage points near the West Bank town of Beit Ummar, where the boy, Mohammed al-Alami, was fatally shot in the chest
Footage of last week’s fatal shooting of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy by Israeli soldiers near the West Bank city of Hebron show soldiers open fire at the car in which the boy was riding as it was backing up. The Israeli army spokesperson’s account stated that the troops shot at the car’s tires after the driver did not heed their order to stop.
In the videos soldiers are seen near a makeshift cemetery serving the Hebron-area town of Beit Ummar, where the shooting took place. As the car approached the soldiers, the father, who was driving, immediately decided to back up. Then, three soldiers are seen running toward the car and several shots are heard.
The footage matches the account of Ashraf al-Alami, the boy’s uncle. Al-Alami claims that the boy’s father, who was driving the car with his three children, decided to backtrack after encountering a roadblock at the entrance to Beit Ummar. Then, the uncle claimed, about 13 shots were fired at the car, one of which hit 12-year-old Mohammed al-Alami in the chest.
The timing of the two videos, which were filmed from different vantage points, was synchronized by B’Tselem. In both videos, the car’s movement backward matches. The exact times noted on the two videos are an hour apart because one of them is not set to daylight saving time.
The army’s rules of engagement permit firing at a vehicle in the West Bank only in life-threatening situations (such as a ramming attack) or following an attack on an Israeli soldier (such as a drive-by shooting).
Moreover, there are three scenarios in which soldiers are permitted to fire at a vehicle’s tires: when it breaches a checkpoint; when there is a “concrete warning” related to it; or when a suspect of a serious crime is seen fleeing into a vehicle. Neither the Israeli army account of the incident nor the Palestinians’ version appear to correspond with the criteria for opening fire on the vehicle in which Mohammed al-Alami was shot in.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Office issued a statement following the incident in which it said that soldiers had identified a number of suspects leaving a car near an army post at the entrance to Beit Ummar. The suspects were then seen digging in the ground and getting back into the car.
“The troops approached to examine the area and identified two plastic bags, one of which contained the body of a newborn baby. Not long after, the forces identified a car driving near the site and believed that it was the same car in which the suspects had been riding.”
The army said that the soldiers then followed the arrest procedures, ordered the suspect to stop and firing in the air. “After the vehicle did not stop, one of the soldiers shot the at tires of the car to stop it. The claim that the Palestinian boy was killed as a result of the weapons fire is being investigated,” the army said.
A 20-year-old man was also killed in clashes between the army and Palestinians at Mohammed al-Alami’s funeral last Thursday. Eleven other Palestinians were injured in the clashes.