CCTV footage of the incident

Soldier who shot Palestinian in Jericho: 'He ran towards me with metal rod'

Staff Sgt. A., the squad commander who shot dead Yassin Omar al-Saradih during clashes in Jericho, says the attacker was brandishing a metal rod over a meter in length; 'he resisted and tried to snatch the weapon from me,' he tells CID investigators.

Staff Sgt. A., who shot to death a Palestinian suspect during a raid in Jericho last week, was questioned under caution by the IDF's Criminal Investigation Division (CID) on Sunday, and insisted that despite the fact he felt in danger, he acted proportionally.



Staff Sgt. A., a squad commander from the Lion of the Valley Battalion, was tasked with handling the clashes that erupted in the heart of the relatively quiet Palestinian city around 2am Thursday, while another force was arresting wanted suspects.


"I was securing the alley, and then all of a sudden I noticed a relatively large Palestinian man running toward me with an object that appeared like an iron rod in his hand," Staff Sgt. A recounted the incident to investigators.


"I began the suspect arrest procedure and ordered him to stop. He didn't stop and kept running towards me with a rod over one meter in length, and then I shot at his lower body," he continued.


"At this point I approached to take the object from him, but he resisted and tried to snatch the weapon from me," Staff Sgt. A. went on to say. "We didn't shoot at him at this point, but we overpowered and handcuffed him. At this point, a massive riot developed nearby, and I went back to handling that while the rest of the force handled the Palestinian. I was also hit by the gas. The incident itself was at close quarters, perhaps three meters."


Several minutes later, a combat medic from the force conducted an initial and superficial examination of the Palestinian, Yassin Omar al-Saradih, but she didn't identify a gunshot wound or external bleeding. A similar diagnosis was made later by a medic from the battalion aid station.


This led the IDF to initially believe Saradih died of a combination of suffocation from the gas that was fired during the clashes and the physical force used against him when he was overpowered.


An autopsy of Saradih carried out by the Institute of Forensic Medicine on Friday determined that he was indeed killed by a single gunshot fired by Staff Sgt. A.


The combat medic who initially examined Saradih and Staff Sgt. A.'s platoon commander are also expected to provide their testimony to the CID.


CCTV footage of the incident

CCTV footage of the incident


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So far, Staff Sgt. A.'s has received the full backing of his commanders.


"If the squad commander had acted according to the rules of engagement, he would have shot the Palestinian suspect in the head or in the center of his body," a source close to Sgt. A. claimed. "He deserves a commendation for his conduct."


However, questions arose about the fact two different medics failed to identify the bullet entry wound in Saradih's groin area, even though the suspect was undressed by the troops, who found a knife in his possessions.


Another question concerns the lack of transparency by the army. The IDF entirely concealed the unusual incident from the public, even though it happened in the middle of the night and the suspect was held by the Israeli troops for hours. It was only the next day, around midday, that the Palestinians reported Saradih's death, releasing security camera footage showing the incident.


In an effort not to repeat the mistakes that plagued Elor Azaria's case, the IDF took no risks. On the one hand, the soldiers received full backing, while on the other hand it was announced the CID had launched an investigation into the case, as is customary in such incidents. The military defense counsel also spared no expenses, assigning the soldiers with senior military lawyers to advise them.


According to the initial investigation of the incident, while troops were operating in Jericho, some 50 Palestinians began rioting by throwing rocks, rolling burning tires and hurling Molotov cocktails at the soldiers.


During the violence, Saradih ran toward the soldiers brandishing an iron rod, leading them to open fire on him.


The IDF said that "in response to the threat, soldiers fired toward him but he was most likely not hit." Soldiers then "used force in order to subdue the suspect," the statement added.


It said the man had a knife on him and had tried to grab a soldier's weapon. The statement added that a medic examined the detainee at the time and assessed his condition to be "normal."


The army statement added that the Palestinian's condition deteriorated when he was later exposed to tear gas fired by soldiers trying to disperse Palestinian protesters. The man was later identified as a 33-year-old Jericho man who, according to relatives, did not suffer from health problems.


פרסום ראשון: 02.26.18, 09:36
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