Israeli forces kill 'unarmed' Palestinian in West Bank

Victim's family says killing was unprovoked, while Israeli army alleges the man ran towards a military post.

    Israeli troops and settlers have killed up to 223 Palestinians since October 2015 [Reuters]
    Israeli troops and settlers have killed up to 223 Palestinians since October 2015 [Reuters]

    A Palestinian man has been shot dead by Israeli forces at the entrance to the town of Silwad in the occupied West Bank. 

    Iyad Hamed, a 38-year-old father of two children, was shot dead early on Friday at the western entrance of his hometown close to the city of Ramallah. 

    Conflicting reports have emerged as to how Hamed was killed.

    The family of the victim and local journalists told Al Jazeera that Hamed's killing was unprovoked, and that he was shot while walking to the nearby mosque for Friday prayers. 

    "Just ten minutes before he went to pray, he dropped off some things he got from the supermarket," said Jinan Hamed, a relative and neighbour of the victim.

    "A little later, we heard about five shots."

    Israeli army officials, however, allege that Hamed was seen running towards a military post in the town before soldiers shot him dead. 

    "(Israeli) forces identified a suspect running towards an IDF (Israel Defence Forces) post in Silwad," a military spokeswoman told Reuters news agency. 

    "Upon the suspect's advance, the forces shot the suspect, resulting in his death," she added. 

    The spokeswoman also said the details as to whether Hamed was armed at the time of his killing "are still being checked". 

    Israeli officials could not be reached at the time of publication for a follow up comment. 

    READ MORE: Israel army 'mistakenly' kills Palestinian teen 

    A local journalist told Al Jazeera that Israeli forces did not allow ambulances or reporters around the scene, and had returned the body after an hour and a half.

    While Silwad, close to the Jewish-only settlement of Ofra, is a scene of regular clashes between Palestinians and Israeli armed forces, the reporter said there were none at the time that Hamed was walking in the area.

    "He was such a simple man who always kept to himself," said Jinan, adding that Hamed was a construction worker. 

    "His wife is overwrought with grief. Has a 8-year-old boy and a 2-year old girl that are crying for their dad. This is very difficult for us," she told Al Jazeera. 

    Since October 2015, Israeli troops and settlers have killed up to 223 Palestinians, including unarmed demonstrators, bystanders and alleged attackers, while 35 Israelis were killed in stabbing and shooting incidents.

    Human rights groups have accused Israeli forces of unlawful killings and using lethal force in situations where non-lethal measures would have been appropriate.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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