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Israeli army investigates soldier suspected of killing unarmed Palestinian

Aug. 29, 2016 3:24 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 29, 2016 10:37 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- The Israeli soldier responsible for the shooting death of an unarmed Palestinian man on Friday was reportedly being investigated for “involuntary manslaughter,” Israeli media reported Monday.

The unidentified soldier was suspected of delivering the fatal gunshot that hit 38-year-old Iyad Zakariya Hamed in the back, after soldiers alleged that they saw Hamed “charging” towards them near a military post at the entrance of the Ramallah area village of Silwad.

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the soldier from the ultra-Orthodox Netzah Yehuda battalion was initially thought to be investigated for manslaughter, though he was later probed for involuntary manslaughter, and then released to his unit.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that the soldier was being investigated for Hamed’s death, but did not specify the charges he was being probed for, or whether he was released back to his post.

According to Haaretz, any death of a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank who was “not involved in actual fighting” warrants an Israeli military police investigation. The newspaper added that the investigation into Hamed’s killing would look into the activity of the soldiers responsible before they opened fire, and why they fired deadly shots at Hamed when “danger was not immediately clear.”

Israeli media initially reported that Hamed, a husband and father of three, fired shots at the Israeli soldiers, though it was later confirmed that he was unarmed.

Palestinian medical officials reported after the shooting that Hamed was shot in the back, and that he had mental disabilities and had been receiving psychiatric treatment.

The Israeli army has maintained however, that Hamed was running toward the military post when the soldiers opened fire.

According Israel's Army Radio, he did not heed the soldiers’ repeated orders to halt and was shot, thus the investigation is said to confirm that Hamed did not respond to warning shots and kept running toward the military post.

According to Ma'an documentation, Hamed was the 220th Palestinian to be killed by Israelis since a wave of unrest spread across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel began in October, many of whom were killed while allegedly carrying out attacks or attempting to carry out attacks on Israeli targets, or during clashes with Israeli forces during raids in Palestinian communities.

Most recently, a Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli forces Wednesday near Nablus after allegedly attempting to stab an Israeli soldier.

Some 32 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians during the same period.

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.

Haaretz recently published a report revealing that nearly all investigations opened over the killings of Palestinians at the hands of Israeli police in the past ten months were closed “without the unit investigating and questioning the officers.”

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