Amr Qawasme's bed
Photo: AFP

Soldier who accidentally shot Palestinian in his bed to be discharged

Southern Command Chief adopts findings of probe into accidental shooting death of 65-year-old Hebron man during operation to detain wanted Hamas terrorists; says soldier responsible acted 'unprofessionally'

IDF Southern Command Chief Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi has decided not to extend the service of a career soldier who shot 65-year-old Palestinian Amr Qawasme to death in his bedroom during a recent detention operation in the West Bank city of Hebron.


During the operation the soldier spotted a regular army soldier opening fire and decided to open fire as well.


Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi determined that while the shooting was carried out because soldier felt his life was at risk, it was carried out in an "unprofessional manner."


The initial shooting was carried out when the Palestinian moved in a suspicious manner and caused the career soldier to believe his life was being threatened, particularly in light of the information the soldiers had on Hamas terrorist Wael Mahmoud Said Bitar, who was in the building during the accidental shooting.


Bitar was eventually arrested.


A senior IDF official told Ynet, "Obviously we would have prevented the tragic outcome if we could have, but this was an operation to detain wanted (terrorists), where everything happens very quickly and everyone is very alert.


"The first soldier felt he was in immediate danger, and understandably so. His comrade could have avoided the shooting. Even if the final outcome was unavoidable, he still acted unprofessionally," the official said.


On the day of the incident Judea and Samaria Division Commander Brigadier-General Nitzan Alon said the force opened fire after spotting a suspicious movement from Qawasme's direction while entering an apartment in the area.


"You must see it from the perspective of the force, which arrived to arrest terror activists, after a quick standing operation procedure. Such an incident, as tragic as it may be, can happen among dozens and hundreds of arrest which end without any casualties," he said.


Qawasme's wife described the events that occurred in her house in Hebron. "They broke into our house, about 60 armed soldiers. When they broke in I was praying but I immediately stopped to see what they wanted.


"One of the soldiers forcibly closed my mouth with his hand while another went into my old and ill husband's room and shot him in the head until he was dead," she said in tears. "Everything that happened was simply an act of vengeance on Palestinian families."


"My crippled son was in the house during the incident, he is in a very rough mental state. I myself have yet to digest the events, how and why it happened. Everything the soldiers said about my husband trying to attack them or interrupt them was a lie – he was killed while he was sleeping. I can barely stand on my own two feet, our economic situation is very bad and I don't know how I will deal with life after this disaster which has fallen on our heads."


She added that "we will not stand by and allow this disaster to be forgotten. We will make every effort to reach the people who shot my husband and caused his death. We will ask the responsible elements to punish those responsible for the mental, social and financial anguish they have caused us."





פרסום ראשון: 01.19.11, 23:54
 new comment
See all talkbacks "Soldier who accidentally shot Palestinian in his bed to be discharged"
This will delete your current comment