IDF launches investigation after soldiers needlessly kill Palestinian at checkpoint

The IDF’s military police unit opened an investigation after an initial investigation determined that a 45-year-old Palestinian man was needlessly shot in front of his son during an altercation with Israeli soldiers outside his village from the central West Bank last week.

The incident happened last Tuesday when troops set up a makeshift checkpoint outside Silwad to inspect vehicles entering and leaving the village, according to the initial investigation by the brigade commander whose findings were leaked to the Kan public broadcaster on Sunday.

A heavy traffic jam then formed, angering many drivers who began honking their horns in frustration. One of the soldiers at the scene decided to throw a stun grenade in response.

A furious Ahmad Kahla then tried to get out of his vehicle but the squad commander on the scene prevented him from doing so and sprayed the Palestinian with pepper spray which he had not received from the army. At this point, the soldiers decided to pull Kahla from her car.

A scuffle ensued, as he resisted and also fired at the gun of the soldier who sought to drag him out of the vehicle. One of the soldiers then decided to discharge his weapon, shooting Kahla in the upper body as her 19-year-old son watched from the car, Kan said at the first inquest. The father-of-four was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after.

While initial reports identified Kahla as a terrorist who was looking to carry out an attack, the brigade commander overseeing the initial investigation concluded that this was not the case and that “the incident was not meant to end. by a dead man”.

The IDF said in a statement that a military police investigation has been opened into the case and that its findings will be transferred to the office of the military attorney general. However, prosecutions of troops involved in such altercations are rare.

The brigade commander’s initial investigation was consistent with testimony provided to Kan last week that soldiers took up to half an hour to inspect a single vehicle before letting it pass. When they got to Kahla’s car, she started yelling at the soldiers, the unnamed witness said.

He “kinda yelled at them so they came over to the car and pepper sprayed him. When they got him out of the car, he was covered in pepper spray. He couldn’t see anything. He started moving back and forth with his arms and one of the soldiers shot him,” the witness said.

The PA Foreign Ministry condemned the deadly incident as a “heinous execution”.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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