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Raid in Bethlehem
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B'Tselem: IDF broke law by killing wanted Palestinians
Human rights group asks attorney general, chief military advocate general to investigate killing of Muhammad Shahade, three other terror suspects in Bethlehem earlier March, claiming they were killed without resisting arrest, should have been brought to trial
B'Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, has asked Attorney General Menachem Mazuz and Chief Military Advocate General, Brig.-Gen. Avi Mandelblit, to launch a criminal investigation into the killing of four wanted Palestinian suspects by IDF forces in Bethlehem earlier in March.

 

The men in question are Muhammad Shahade, Ahmad Balbul, Imad al-Kamal and Issa Marzouk Zawahara. According to the IDF, the four, who were killed in a raid on March 12, have been involved in planning and perpetrating terror attacks against Israel.

 

B'Tselem claims that the IDF acted in violation of a High Court ruling, which states that suspects must not be killed when it is possible to arrest them and bring them to trial.

 

The group requested that Mazuz and Mandelblit also examine the involvement of the chief of staff, the Central Command chief and commander of the Judea and Samaria Division in planning and authorizing the operation.

 

Shot at point-blank range

An inquiry conducted by the group revealed that during the raid in Bethlehem, soldiers used automatic fire against the suspects, although the latter did not attempt to escape or respond with fire.

 

The inquiry further indicated that after three of the suspects had already been shot, a soldier approached the vehicle in which they were sitting and shot each one of them at point-blank range. The driver, al-Kamal, had reportedly been shot while lying wounded and unarmed near the car.

 

In its letter to Mazuz and Mandelblit, B'Tselem also brings the testimonies of Shahade's wife and children, who claim that several days prior to his death, security forces demolished his house, an act the group says "raises heavy suspicion of retaliatory action and severe abuse of the family members."

 

B'Tselem asked that these claims would be looked into as well.

 

The IDF has yet to respond to the allegations.

 

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