‘Handcuffed Palestinian shot in legs’ - GulfToday

‘Handcuffed Palestinian shot in legs’

Palestinian-shot

A doctor checks Osama Hajahjeh, 16, at the Beit Jala hospital on Monday. Associated Press

A hospitalised Palestinian teen said on Monday he was shot in his thighs by Israeli soldiers while he was handcuffed and blindfolded — the latest in what a leading rights group portrayed as a series of unjustified shootings of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers.

The military said it was investigating last week’s incident, which it said took place during the clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian youths.

Osama Hajahjeh, 16, said he was trying to run from soldiers when he was shot on Thursday.

He said the incident began after a funeral for a school teacher in his village of Tekoa, who had been hit by a car driven by an Israeli while walking at a busy intersection.

Hajahjeh said school was let out early for students to attend the funeral.

After the burial, he said he was tackled by a soldier who jumped out of an olive grove and forced him to the ground. He said his hands were cuffed and his eyes covered with a cloth blindfold.

After the arrest, he said he could hear Palestinian youths shouting at the soldiers, while soldiers yelled back in Arabic and Hebrew.

“I got confused” and stood up, he said.

“Immediately, I was shot in my right leg. Then I tried to run, and I was shot in my left leg and fell on the ground,” he said, speaking from his hospital bed in the West Bank town of Beit Jala south of Jerusalem. Doctors said he is in stable condition.

A photo captured by a local photographer shows soldiers appearing to pursue a fleeing Hajahjeh with his eyes covered and hands tied behind his back.

The shooting set off a chaotic scene. Soldiers and Palestinians shouted at each other as the teen lay on the ground.

One soldier took off the teen’s belt and used it as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.

Amateur video shows a masked soldier screaming and pointing a pistol at a group of anguished Palestinians as the teen lies on the ground.

Later, a soldier scuffles with residents as another soldier fires into the air. A soldier and two Palestinian men then carry away the teen to medical care.

Hajahjeh’s father, Ali, said he was thankful a soldier gave his son medical care. But he said his son never should have been shot to begin with.

“Only a sick person would shoot a blindfolded boy,” he said. The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said the incident was the latest in a series of what it called unjustified shootings on Palestinian teens and young men.

Associated Press