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Israeli forces kill young Palestinian man, injure another in Shufat refugee camp

Sept. 5, 2016 9:42 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 13, 2016 3:32 P.M.)
Mustafa Nimir was shot and killed by Israeli police after they accused him of attempting to commit a car ramming attack
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces shot and killed a young Palestinian man in the Shufat refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem in the early hours of Monday morning following a raid in the camp, according to locals and Israeli police.

Local sources told Ma'an that Israeli forces "showered" a Palestinian car with gunfire, killing Mustafa Nimr and injuring another young man whose identity and health condition remained unknown to witnesses.

Israeli authorities claimed the driver -- who they did not identify as either Nimr or the other person who was injured -- attempted to run over Israeli police and border guard officers before they fired at the car.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said police and border guard officers had completed an “activity” in the camp after midnight, and as they were leaving the camp a car “approached them swiftly and seemingly attempted to run over officers.”

According to al-Samri, before they fired, Israeli officers "started procedures to arrest the two suspects” who were in the car, but the Palestinian youth “ignored the orders and continued to drive swiftly towards the officers apparently with the intention to harm them.”

She added that Israeli officers fired at the car, injuring Nimr critically before he was announced dead on the scene.

The other young man reportedly sustained moderate wounds and was evacuated to hospital for treatment.

Al-Samri reported no injuries among the Israeli officers.

Nimr's death brought the death toll of Palestinians killed since October to 221, when a wave of unrest swept across the occupied West Bank that has also left some 32 Israelis dead.

The violence against Israelis has mostly been characterized by alleged small-scale attacks carried out by individual Palestinians, usually against uniformed Israeli soldiers and police.

According to Ma'an documentation, Nimr was the fourth resident of the Shufat refugee camp to have been killed by Israeli forces since October. Out of the four, two young men -- including Nimr -- were shot and killed while allegedly attempting to commit an attack, while the other two -- Ahmad Salah and Wissam Faraj -- were killed during clashes with Israeli forces.

Israel has come under repeated criticism for failing to carry out due process in response to alleged and actual attacks, particularly in regard to the apparent extrajudicial executions of Palestinians who did not pose a threat when they were killed.

A number of Palestinians have killed under circumstances similar to Nimr's death, by coming under indiscriminate Israeli army fire while driving near to a military operation.

In late June, 15-year-old Mahmoud Raafat Badran was killed near Ramallah by Israeli soldiers after they "showered" the vehicle he was traveling in with live fire.

Though Israeli media first reported Badran as a "terrorist" who had been throwing stones, he was later revealed to be an innocent bystander to a nearby incident where pedestrian youth had been throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at passing vehicles.

Despite Israeli police later admitting to "mistakenly" killing the teenager who had nothing to do with the stone-throwing, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said: “If it were not for the difficult security situation, which is entirely the result of incitement and Palestinian terror, Israel would not be forced to use force in order to protect its civilians.”

In July, 22-year-old Anwar Falah al-Salaymeh was shot and killed by Israeli forces in the town of al-Ram in the West Bank district of Jerusalem, when he and two friends driving in the area stumbled upon an ongoing Israeli army raid in the area.

At the time, the army said that forces shot at a “speeding vehicle heading towards them,” killing al-Salaymeh and grievously injuring one of the two other Palestinians in the vehicle.

However, the surviving passengers in the car categorically denied that they had attempted to run over the soldiers, saying that they were heading to a bakery and had been unaware that Israeli forces were deployed in the area.

Rights groups have challenged Israel's narrative in the death's Badran's and al-Salaymeh's, asserting that their killings and scores of others by Israeli forces since last fall have amounted to “extrajudicial executions,” as they have been carried out even when there was no threat of immediate danger.

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