Eyewitnesses refute the Israeli assertion that the Palestinians were killed because they threatened Israeli soldiers.
The number of Palestinians killed this week has risen to nine after an Israeli soldier opened fire and killed a Palestinian on Sunday morning close to the occupied West Bank town of Silwad.
Palestinian state news agency Wafa reported that eyewitnesses claimed Israeli soldiers manning a temporary checkpoint at the western entrance of the town shot Ahmed Abdel-Jalil Kahla, 45, at close range after compelling him to exit his car following a verbal altercation.
According to the Palestinian health ministry, Kahla was struck in the neck by a live bullet and quickly passed away in a Ramallah hospital.
The Israeli military initially claimed it shot and killed a Palestinian man who waved a knife at soldiers as he approached a checkpoint close to the Israeli settlement of Ofra.
Later, it amended its claim, saying that a “suspicious vehicle refused to stop for a routine inspection” and that its personnel “used riot dispersal means in order to detain one of the suspects in the vehicle.”.
According to a spokesperson for the Israeli army, Kahla was shot by soldiers as he attempted to take one of the soldiers’ weapons.
The soldiers fired a stun grenade towards the crowd that had gathered because of the checkpoint, and one of them struck Kahla’s car, according to eyewitnesses, who also claimed that Kahla had no intention of carrying out a stabbing attack.
One driver told Reuters that Kahla then began shouting at the soldiers, and when they came to his car and used pepper spray, he got out, fought with them, and was shot.
Eyewitnesses also refuted Israeli reports that the incident happened during a clash in which Palestinians were hurling rocks at the soldiers, adding that Kahla was traveling to his construction jobs in the car with his son Qusai, who is 18 years old.
Qusai told AFP at the family home in Rammun village, “Soldiers came and they sprayed pepper spray on my face and they pulled me out of the car.
I have no idea what transpired after that, he admitted. “I learned from my uncle that my dad was killed.”
Numerous Palestinians attended Kahla’s funeral on Sunday, according to an AFP correspondent, some of whom called for retaliation.
The Palestinian foreign ministry described Kahla’s murder as a “heinous execution,” adding that Israel’s new right-wing government had made it “easy for soldiers to kill any Palestinian without them posing any danger to the occupation soldiers.”.
The incident occurs a day after three Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Jenin.
Since the beginning of the year, Israeli forces have killed 13 Palestinians in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, including three children.
The number of fatalities in the Palestinian territories under occupation rose to at least 167 last year, the highest number since the Second Intifada.