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Family rejects Israeli narrative of Palestinian killed at checkpoint as father is detained

June 21, 2017 11:08 A.M. (Updated: June 22, 2017 1:01 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Hours after a 23-year-old Palestinian man was shot dead near Israel’s Qalandiya military crossing in the central occupied West Bank early Tuesday evening, Israeli forces raided his hometown and detained his father, with the family rejecting the Israeli claim that their son was attempting to stab Israeli soldiers when he was killed.

The Israeli army said at the time of Bahaa al-Hirbawi’s killing that he was attempting to carry out a knife attack on Israeli forces who were conducting out a “routine check" at the Jabaa military checkpoint.

"In response to the immediate threat, forces fired towards the attacker and a hit was confirmed," the spokesperson told Ma’an, and acknowledged, after being asked for clarification, that the man was in fact killed.

No Israelis were injured.

Later Tuesday evening, 10 Israeli military vehicles raided Bahaa’s home town of al-Eizariya, surrounded the area around his house, and detained his father Imad al-Hirbawi. taking him for interrogation at the illegal Israeli settlement Maale Adummim, spokesperson of the local popular resistance committees in Hani Halabiya said.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an they were looking into reports of the raid and Imad's detention.

Members of the family said that Bahaa left home Tuesday afternoon after getting off of work, and said he was going to Ramallah city to shop and visit his brother who lives in there.

They told Ma’an they were “shocked” by the news of Bahaa’s killing and denounced Israel’s version of events as “false claims.”

Relatives cited eyewitness accounts as saying that Israeli forces stopped Bahaa at the Jabaa checkpoint on his way back home from Ramallah and surrounded him. After that, “nobody knows what happened,” they said.

The family said they first heard of Bahaa’s death through social media posts and were officially informed by the Palestinian liaison sometime later.

Bahaa was the oldest sibling of ten. He worked with his father as a plumber, and was the second primary supporter of the family.

Family members said Bahaa had never been detained before for any reason and had no political affiliation.

Israeli forces have been routinely criticized for their excessive use of force and for what rights groups have termed a "shoot-to-kill" policy against Palestinians who did not constitute a threat at the time of their death, or who could have been subdued in a non-lethal manner -- amid a backdrop of impunity for Israelis who committed the killings.

Al-Hirbawi was the 34th Palestinian to have been killed by Israelis since the beginning of the year, according to Ma'an documentation. In the same time, eight Israelis have been killed by Palestinians.

Three young Palestinian men were shot dead last week after carrying out an attack in occupied East Jerusalem that left an Israeli border policewoman killed.

In the wake of the incident, Israeli authorities have revoked permits issued so that 250,000 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank may visit their families in Jerusalem and Israel for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and imposed a harsh crackdown around Jerusalem's Old City and the hometown of the three slain Palestinians -- with the measures being denounced as "collective punishment."
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